In mid-May, Michael Ludwig, the Mayor of Vienna announced just prior to the re-opening of restaurants and bars that there would be vouchers (“Wiener Gastrogutscheine”) being sent to all Viennese households for EUR 25 (if living alone) or EUR 50 (multiple persons in the household) to spend in restaurants in Vienna. The measure is intended to help stimulate restaurant visits and the beleaguered gastronomy sector. The scheme, paid for by Stadt Wien, runs until September.
Following some delays in the implementation of the scheme, the initiative is up and running. Vouchers are being sent out now to all households with their primary residence (Hauptwohnsitz) in Vienna.
At the launch, it was announced that the intention was for all restaurants in Vienna to participate in the scheme. However, with it being a case of opt-in, 2,000+ establishments have registered so far (as of 24 June).
Some restrictions do apply:
- Only one voucher can be used per restaurant bill (you might have to go out for a meal twice, if you and a friend or family member from a different household both want to use vouchers!)
- The voucher can be donated to others if you feel their need is greater than yours (the voucher are not issued in your name). Alternatively, you might like to consider donating the vouchers to either Diakonie (https://diakonie.at/wiener-gastrogutscheine-spenden) or Caritas (www.caritas-wien.at) – either at any of their shelters for the homeless or by post to Caritas der Erzdiözese Wien, füreinand’ Team, Albrechtskreithgasse 19-21, A-1160 Wien
- Vouchers cannot be used to purchase alcohol (either with a meal, or say a round of drinks). There are a number of participating outlets that are bars with only nominal catering – it might be a good idea to check before you order.
- The voucher cannot be used to cover a tip, and only the amount consumed is refunded to the participating restaurant or café. If you do not spend the full amount of the voucher, there is no cash refund and also the residual balance cannot be used for another visit. There is also no choice of denominations of the voucher.
- Heurigen are able to participate, but Buschenschank cannot (the latter not falling under gastronomy, but is an ancillary service in addition to farming and forestry) so check before you go.
- Takeaway is possible only in the case that you collect the meal in person from the restaurant (so no Lieferando or Mjam deliveries are covered!)
Regarding which restaurants and cafes are participating:
- Participating restaurants will have posters stating that they are taking part in the promotion.
- The website www.wienergastrogutschein.at has a search function where you can find out about participating restaurants (a maximum of 50 are shown) within a 1 km radius of the address you state.
Here are some ideas for some family-friendly ideas how you could spend your vouchers:
- If your children haven’t seen Oma and Opa recently, you could put your voucher towards a family meal together, or Oma and Opa could take their grandchildren out with them!
- You could arrange large family-sized pizzas for collection from a restaurant and have a pizza picnic with friends (a playdate with a difference!).
- Have a date night dinner out (the restaurant voucher helps defray babysitting costs).
- Go out for coffee and cake with your children and babysitter at a participating coffee house – especially some of the big ones in the city center that normally are too full with tourists.
- Organise a series of meals out with other VFN parents in your baby and/or social group(s) to use them. It can be a great way to perhaps discover a new restaurant that you might not have otherwise tried out.
- Celebrate your return to the office after Karenz with colleagues with a lunch together!
For those taking the offer up, Mahlzeit, Bon Appetit, Lass es Dir/Euch schmecken! For those not wishing to use it yourself, please consider helping Diakonie or Caritas by donating your voucher.
This article was adapted for the Vienna Family Network from Mike’s contribution for the British Council Association.
Mike Bailey came to Austria originally for a year abroad in 1997 while studying modern languages at St Andrews and moved to Vienna in 2000. A banking law translator by trade and married father of three, after blogging on naturalisation (frombrexittoexbrit.com), he has started blogging about life in Austria with an emphasis on holiday ideas, as well as also providing English-language content for a number of English language sources.