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With the gastronomy sector having taken a hammering through lockdown, any many restaurants having been shut from mid-March until late-May, just prior to their reopening, Vienna’s mayor, Michael Ludwig announced a scheme called the “Wiener Gastrogutschein” – with all Viennese households being given a EUR 25 (for those on their own) or EUR 50 (for 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 and is about to start after a slight delay in setting up the scheme, with vouchers imminently due to hit letterboxes and doorsteps of all households whose primary residence (Hauptwohnsitz) is in Vienna.
There has been some mixed press about the scheme, as this year is also the mayoral election, which Ludwig will be contesting for the first time, after taking over from Michael Häupl, who stood down after 20 years. When launched the intention was for all restaurants and cafes to participate, but since they have to register to participate, due to the delays in the scheme, only around 1,100 have registered to date. And if you don’t spend the full amount you are not entitled to reuse the balance, or to get the change back. And you can’t buy alcoholic drinks using the voucher.
Main restrictions that apply and options for the voucher:
- 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!)
- Vouchers can be donated to others if you feel their need is greater than yours (the voucher is 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 can’t (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:
So how do I find out which restaurants are participating?
Participating restaurants will have posters stating that they are taking part in the promotion.
The website wienergastrogutschein.at also has a search function where you can find out about participating restaurants (a maximum of 50 are shown) within a 1km radius of the address you state.
Ideas of expat-friendly ways to spend your vouchers:
- If you have friends coming in from out of town, why not put it towards a fancy meal together
- Get together with friends in the park and have a pizza picnic if you collect the pizzas from a participating restaurant
- Go on a date night dinner out with your other half (the restaurant voucher helps defray babysitting costs).
- Go on a date for cake and coffee in a Kaffeehaus you haven’t been too as it is normally rather touristy
- Organise a series of lunches with co-workers by pooling your vouchers (e.g. weekly lunches using a different voucher each week)
- Reward your private language student for their loyalty attending remote classes with a coffee and cake lesson.
- Come to a Vienna Expats event and fine someone to go out with you for a meal to use vouchers.
Have fun, enjoy it, and if you don’t intend to take up the voucher, please support Caritas or Diakonie.