Michael "Globetrott" wrote here a very correct "tip" about tipping in Vienna which he should maybe update to make it appear at the top so that tourists would refrain tipping at 10% waiters who very often don't merit such tip.
Indeed the "kindness" of the waiters in Vienna is on the very low side of the scale.
I'm not the only one to find them often grumpy and unfriendly.
I read in a review on Viennese restaurants the following by a certain Aphelion on 17.01.2012:
"Das Personal ist mir allerdings schon öfter ungeduldig und unfreundlich aufgefallen. Oder gehört das schon dazu zum typischen Wiener Café"
Do I need to translate?
It seemed to me on my various trips that it is part of the folklore of the Viennese Kaffeehaus to have waiters who lack any charm. I wonder if this is not due to a complex of superiority generated at the time Wien was the capital of an Empire assembling different nations.
Consequently I just round up the bill.
On a few occasions my wife and I were served by kind waiters and here I tipped at 5 or 10% and … these waiters were surprised and thanked us. My wife made the remark that these kind waiters seemed to come from other countries than Austria!
Now, the nasty things I wrote here about the waiters make me add that the people of Vienna are polite and often kind. We especially observed that in the U-Bahn (Metro).
Something that I was not used to was they way Austrians tip. I'm used to tipping 20% and was a little shocked when my friend explained how tipping works in Vienna.
Basically you just round up the amount of the bill. For example, if your bill was 4.20 Euros you would round up to 5.00 Euros. Do not leave money sitting on the table as you leave, because it is considered rude to not give it directly to the server.
If you say danke that means the server is to keep the change, so be careful if you're handing over a lot of money for a small bill. You'll want to tell the waiter how much to give you back.
If you buy drinks in a bar then tipping is pretty much standard - if you pay €3.20 for a beer say, then you're more or less expected to pay €3.50 for the beer. Whilst there is no hard and fast rule, in terms of the percentage tip, it is expected. In restaurants, typically approx 10% is expected as a tip - anything less might be met with a slightly askance look.
When I first came to Vienna, I was told that Austrians tend to be quite strict on "trinkgeld" (tips). This is because the workers get low basic salaries and they depend on tips for their survival.
Most Austrians would round up the amount. Hence, € 2.23 would become € 2.50; or € 64.52 will become € 70. One will not offend if one simply "rounds-up." But I do think that excessive tipping seems rather frowned upon. I doubt the receiver of the tips will complain but I believe it is seen as being showy if you give a big fat tip. So, you will just have to play it by ear.
As a norm, I would usually give @ 10% tips, unless the service was horrible.
In restaurants and bars, the service fee is not included in the total bill. The waiters/waitress will expect around 10% tips.
For others – almost in general - you can give 10% - 15% tips to taxi drivers and hair-dressers.
Doormen or bellboys may expect about €1 – €2. Porters may expect more than €3, especially if your luggage was heavy!
I saw it on many "tips" on VT, that it is usual to add 10% to the bill...
THAT is simply not correct, as most people in Austria will just ROUND UP the bill like :
02,70 --> 3,00
27,30 --> 28,00
246,20 --> 250,00
The only "sense" of that kind of tipping is, not to get back a lot of small change back !
I work in Restaurant business since more than 20 years now, and of course I know, there are guests, who tip a bit more on a special occasion, for EXTRA&SPECIAL service - sometimes simply in order to impress a nice waitress...
BUT travelers on an ordinary budget ABSOLUTELY will NOT NEED to tip more than a few cents !!!
Better save your money, and visit Schönbrunn-castle as seen on my pic !
Although the US has a fixed percentage and Austria may not, tips in Salzburg or Vienna or Innsbruck are very welcome (just like in south Tirol, an Italian province at the border with Austria). And when I say very welcome, it's not just 20 cents/meal, it's about 2 euros if the meal goes up to 20 euros. Taxi drivers also expect tips.
In England we leave money on the table after a good meal in a restaurant although we don't usually tip. In Vienna (and most places in Austria) it is standard to tip around 10% of the total. When you want to pay ask for "die Rechnung," usually from the Kellner who served you. When he comes to settle the bill he will work it out on a piece of paper or bring a printed receipt (to avoid being ripped off - this is a usual occurence in tourist places (still happens even if you live here for years) - check that no extra drinks or food has been cunningly added to your bill and make sure he/she does their maths correctly) If for example it comes to 3.60 Euros you would then say 4 (Vier) when you hand the money over. A word of warning: never say thank you when you hand over the money!!! - this means keep the change! Usual practice is to tip taxi drivers, waiters and hairdressers, don't tip when you get counter service.
It is customary to offer a tip of around 10-15% to taxi drivers and attendants at theatres and cloakrooms. Restaurant bills usually include a service charge but a little extra should be given in addition.
I was always confused why tipping is so important to travellers from other countries. Maybe my little review can give you some idea where is the big difference in tipping between these two countries. When you go to a restaurant in the States you will served by many waiters and waitresses which will be around your table, charming and they expect their tip at the end of your meal and in the worst case follow you even outside the restaurant and remind you, that they are still missing 5 % of their tip, because the expect usually 25 %(happened to a friend of mine, living in NYC). Bringing the meal to your table is mostly done by unskilled people, which rely on the tip, because their loan is not high enough. The problem of giving the people a proper money is "transferred" from their boss to the customers of the restaurant. In Austria like in most european countries, to be a waiter is a normal job, where you get trained as apprentice for 3 years. Regulated by contracts there is a minimum loan which have to be paid. Even this minimum loan must be high enough, to make a proper life. A percentage of tipping money can be included in their loan, but is not allowed to build the sum of the minimum loan. So generally the problem of paying the serving personal a good money is the problem of the owner of the restaurant and not of his guests. This leads to the most important difference how to treat tipping in Austria. Normaly you only round up to a certain value, it's also common to increase the value if your bill is higher. But tipping is also your possibility of rating your waiters work. If you are completely happy and feel served as a king, feel free to give them an extra tip, if the service was poor and lame, maybe unfriendly - give him your hardest answer - no tip, quite hard but the result of their work. This maybe also explains why people feel so different served in Europe vs USA, in the States waiters rely on your tip, it's part of their loan - in Austria the waiters the tip is only an extra, they get their loan anyway. The waiters in Austria are generally friendly but dont expect them to be submissive. I hope this review is helpful to you and please excuse my mistakes, english is not my first language.