• Germany edition
 
German fast food goes upmarket
Photo: Shutterstock

German fast food goes upmarket

Published: 15 May 2014 08:21 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 May 2014 08:21 GMT+02:00

Things are not looking so great for the fast food industry's giants in Germany. McDonald’s is faltering and Burger King is suffering from a hygiene scandal. Competition is harder than ever for the top two fast food chains, as pizza delivery services, bakery outlets and posh burger joints launch aggressive strategies to catch up with the fast food kingpins.

For years, McDonald’s and Burger King have dominated the market in Germany. Put together the two US giants have a higher turnover than the next 30 largest competitors. But since 2013, McDonald’s customer number has sunk for the first time in years.

Burger King too has suffered a huge set back as a result of a TV report on RTL showing breaches of hygiene and poor working conditions.

While McDonald’s started stalling in 2013, pizza delivery service Joey's Pizza went full speed ahead. In 2013, the Hamburg-based company increased the number of outlets to over 200, causing their turnover to rise 6.6 percent to €128 million.

That should be of little significance to the McDonald’s, which according to the industry journal “Food Service” has a turnover of over €3 billion.

But Joey's is not alone, Call a Pizza, Smiley and many more pizza delivery services are proving extremely popular with customers. Even US pizza delivery giant Dominos is now up and running in Germany.

However, the fast food war is not only a pizza fight. An increasing amount of bakeries are stepping in with snack shops aimed at lunchtime customers, including the large chains like Backwerk and Back Factory.

“We're following the trend of turning self-service bakeries into a place to come and eat,” said Backwerk's managing director Dirk Schneider. The sales for filled rolls, snacks and drinks already account for more than a third of Backwerk's turnover.

Gourmet hamburger joints such as Ritchie 'n Rose in Düsseldorf or the small chain Hans-im-Glück have also jumped on the bandwagon in a bid to knock the burger giants off the top. More expensive than McDonald’s and Burger King, their “gourmet burgers” are aimed at the more sophisticated palate.

“People are happy to pay a euro more for a burger of much higher quality”, said Richard Nicolaus from Richie 'n Rose, which opened last year. On the menu you will find the classic cheeseburger and fishburger alongside marinated tuna steak or chicken burger with teriyaki sauce.

The small burger chain has outlets in several German cities and offers healthy alternatives to the US chain, from fancy vegetarian burgers such as the “Wuzelsepp” a walnut burger, with Heumilchkäse (cheese produced from hay-eating cows), nuts and sprouts to the “classic” beefburger with the choice of Parma ham, goats cheese and fig jelly, or brie with cranberries.

In comparison to their rivals, Hans im Glück provides table service for their customers and “offer a better made burger”, said the company's managing director Thomas Hirschberger. In addition to gourmet burgers, the newcomer, which has 19 outlets in Germany and plans to have 55 restaurants by 2015, also offers cocktails, beer and wine.

But Hirschberger predicts a long-term future for McDonald’s and Burger King in Germany. “They do a good job,” Hirschberger said. “They always bounce back.”

SEE ALSO: Burger King boss admits scandal has hit revenues

For more stories about Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall
Photo: Paul Sullivan

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall

Two expats who walked the Mauerweg - the 160-kilometre trail that runs the length of the former Berlin Wall - have written a book about forgotten aspects of its past and present. READ  

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat
Photo: DPA

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat

Germany's biggest department store chain Karstadt will close at least six stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk, in a drastic bid by its new boss to return it to profit. READ  

Quiz
How well do you know Germany?
Photos: DPA/Shutterstock

How well do you know Germany?

Do you know your Saxony facts from your Saxony-Anhalt ones? Test your knowledge of Germany's federal states in The Local's quiz. READ  

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal
Pollution from a coal-fired power station in Frimmersdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal

The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement in Bonn on greenhouse gases on Friday as providing "valuable momentum" for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Kurds watching the attack on Kobane. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pressed UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to bring possible poison gas use by Isis in Iraq before the Security Council. READ  

Spring back in German consumers' step?
Photo: DPA

Spring back in German consumers' step?

Update: Consumer confidence in Germany has stopped falling, as households appear to be no longer fazed by concerns about the economic fallout from geopolitical crises, a new poll found on Friday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,533
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd