Tipping habits and amounts are pretty much the same in Vienna as elsewhere in major western cities.
- See also: Ordering and paying in restaurants
Who should you tip?
So, for example, tip porters, taxi drivers, waiters and waitresses, hairdressers, and anybody who fixes anything in your apartment. And it’s customary to leave a tip for hotel cleaning staff in your room when you leave.
There are no hard and fast rules, though, and it’s difficult to offend (but see below). The only people you really, really must tip are the restaurant/bar staff who serve you at the table. Why?
Tipping in restaurants
Service is very rarely included in restaurant and bar bills. So if you don’t tip, it’s considered a sign that you were extremely dissatisfied with your table service. It’s just not done to not tip anything.
A smaller tip? Fine as an expression of your disappointment.
No tip? Not cool.
How much should you tip?
When tipping serving staff, Austrians normally add 5% to 15% to the bill so it’s rounded up to a convenient number. So if the bill is 9 Euro, round up to 10. If it’s 25, round up to 27 or 28. It’s flexible. Feel free to tip more, of course, but it’s not expected.
In cafés, bars and restaurants, you pay the tip in the initial amount you hand over. So don’t pay the bill and then leave behind some change on the table or give back a note.
When you hand over your money state the amount you’re paying. So when the waiter says, “six euro fifty”, you hand them a 10 Euro note and say, “eight”.
(The same principle applies to taxi drivers etc.)
If you’re paying by debit or credit card, you can ask if you should add a tip to the total, or simply pay the bill and hand over some coins or notes as the tip.
With self-service (quite rare in Vienna), I usually add a smaller tip if it’s a bar, for example, where the person taking your money is also putting the order together. But no tip if it’s just a takeaway burger joint or a cash desk at an airport self-service restaurant, for example.
P.S. Don’t worry too much about doing the wrong thing – restaurant and bar staff are used to serving non-Austrians and should give you a little leeway in terms of understanding and following local habits!