The Bavarian Inn Lodge (Frankenmuth, MI)

The Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn Zehnder Family and executive leadership team have upheld a philosophy of being great stewards within the Frankenmuth community for the past 83 years. Today, 2nd, 3rd and even 4th generation owners are active Community and Regional leaders and have been educating and promoting staff members to follow in their footsteps.5018952932_1bbcb55ede_z.jpg

Volunteering: Currently, there are 9 family members actively involved in the day-to-day operations of Bavarian Inn Restaurants, Hotel and Retail Divisions in Frankenmuth. Every family member is actively involved in outside organizational Boards of Directors – giving back of their personal time. They invite leadership (40 Managers and 60 Supervisors) to do the same, a tradition of over 80 years!

Philanthropy: The Bavarian Inn Zehnder and Keller families have been significant corporate financial givers to virtually all local and regional non-profit organizations—from both a corporate and a personal level. The Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Bavarian Inn Lodge evaluates over 1,200 donation requests annually and has been donating significant products and services such as auction items, school/church raffle items, and items for individuals with significant personal challenges and non-profit groups for decades. The Bavarian Inn places a heavy emphasis on helping organizations that help families. Whether its hospitals, CAN Council, Child & Protective Services, Make-a-Wish foundation, or children’s church and school programs, they dig deep with financial and volunteering investments.

Environmental Efforts: With a deep German heritage, frugality, and running a business through the depression created the idea of “being green” long before this term was defined. The focus on being environmentally sound by all leadership within all operations of the Bavarian Inn Companies is an underlying way-of-life. Many of their efforts to save the planet and being socially responsible go back 60+ years.


Ethical Compliance / labor practices: William (Tiny) Zehnder and wife Dorothy Zehnder co-founded the Bavarian Inn. Their ethics in working alongside their staff and engaging them as “a work family with a family work ethic” has continued for decades!

The mission of the Bavarian Inn is “to create enjoyable experiences for our guests, ourselves and each other!” The emphasis is not solely on their guests, but rather all of the people that make their business run—including their employees. As many employees spend perhaps more waking hours of their days with each other than they do with their own families, the care as owners is essential. The owners working alongside staff is an exceptional experience. The wage levels and benefits offered for the Bavarian Inn team members far surpass the hospitality industry standard! The proof of success is well-measured by the years-of-service of the owners and the management team of Bavarian Inn Corporately. Added together, the years-of-service for the 9 owners is 337 years and the current management team—1,060 years! This equates to a nearly 20 year average employment…with 25 Managers having more than 20 years of service.

It is obvious the people stay working here for a reason—to be involved with a well-rounded culture that contributes not only to its guests, but takes care of its employees, its community and the world. Michigan Cares for Tourism appreciates the efforts of the Bavarian Inn, a family culture that truly “cares”.


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