Darmstadt It is an unusual concept that technology and pharmaceutical company Merck has brought to its Darmstadt campus: a food court arranged on three levels with external partners.
Bakers, butchers, smoothie shop and liquor store have leased downstairs – ideal for snacks in between or weekly shopping. One floor higher Merck the stations themselves: salad bar, “place for tradition” and the “favorite dishes”. At the top are an Italian, a Thai and a predominantly vegetarian restaurant.
“UP Central” is the name of the cafeteria opened in 2018, the “UP” stands for “Unser Platz”. And literally: In the partner selection, the employees were interviewed. Which local baker is the best, which Italian?
The favorites were invited and had to cook – the staff evaluated the result. The concept has worked perfectly. “We have 40 percent more guests compared to the previous year,” says chef Oliver Held, who made his cooking education at Merck 29 years ago. On average, they sell 2500 meals a day here.
Despite the size of the room, it is cozy, with predominantly white wood and green upholstery on the outside; factory pipes, administrative wings and the old Pützerturm, Merck's landmark, can be seen outside. You are sitting here in the heart of the company. 11,000 employees are on site, one further house the liquid crystals for mobile displays are produced.
And the dishes can be combined arbitrarily. We opt for hearty German fare: white asparagus with schnitzel and potatoes. The bars taste great, just like the salad from the Italian.
The fluffy finish: wild berry tiramisu. The stations are talking, Hero explains. Every day there are at least once fish, plus several vegetarian options. The currywurst they have ever taken out of the program, the 49-year-old. “But the staff wanted them back.”
Photo: Handelsblatt magazine
This text is taken from the Handelsblatt magazine N ° 7/2019.
More: Merck gets the green light to acquire US specialty chemicals manufacturer Versum, making it a leading supplier of semiconductor materials.
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