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Home » Country Etiquette » Austria

Austrian Etiquette Tips

If you are eating a nice meal in Austria, and you'd like to compliment the chef, one way of doing that is cutting your food with the side of your fork as opposed to using your knife. This lets the chef know that whatever they cooked is so tender that you don't even need a fork. Totally stuffed? Be sure to eat everything served to you and put your fork and knife side-by-side on your plate with the handles facing right to let your hosts know you are full.

Those are just a few little guidelines on table manners in Austria, but below is a list of even more etiquette hints for your trip to Austria.

1. Dress Attire

  1. DON'T wear shorts in the city.
  2. DO dress nicely and somewhat conservatively.
  3. DO wear dark colored business suits with white shirts for business occasions if you are a man, or conservative dresses or business suits with tasteful accessories if you are a woman.

2. Table Manners

  1. DO allow the host to give the first toast, and allow the guest of honor to return the toast towards the end of the meal.
  2. DO maintain eye contact during a toast.
  3. DON'T cut dumplings with your knife. Instead, use your knife to hold the dumpling and cut it up with your fork.
  4. DON'T put up a fight over who pays the bill at a restaurant. Whoever invited everyone out is who pays the bill. If you are invited out to dinner during your visit to Austria, reciprocate and invite whoever invited you to a nice meal.
  5. DON'T discuss business over a meal unless the host initiates it.
  6. DO put your napkin on your lap as soon as you are seated.
  7. DON'T begin eating until the host says "mahlzeit" or "Guten Appetit!"
  8. DO eat as much of your food with a fork as you can. By not using your knife, you are complimenting the chef because it lets them know that the food they cooked is very tender.
  9. DO put your fork and knife side-by-side on your plate with the handles facing to the right when you are done eating. This indicates that you're full.
  10. DON'T leave food on your plate at a dinner party.

3. Tipping

  1. DO leave a tip (5%) is fine) if you are satisfied with the service. It is also customary to simply round the bill up. Usually a gratuity is included in the bill at restaurants or in taxicabs. 

4. Gift Giving and Accepting Gifts

  1. DO open your gift immediately after receiving it.
  2. DON'T give perfume or clothing as a gift. It can be seen as a little too personal.
  3. DON'T give red roses unless you have romantic intentions. Avoid giving red carnations, because it's the flower of the Social Democratic Party in Austria. Additionally, don't give lilies or chrysanthemums. Those are for funerals.
  4. DO give flowers in odd numbers. Even numbers are bad luck.

5. Greetings

  1. DO shake hands with everyone, including children, when entering a room.
  2. DO keep eye contact during a greeting.
  3. DON'T kiss the hand of an Austrian woman unless you are Austrian. Some Austrian men, especially older ones, will do this but it's inappropriate to do this unless you are Austrian.
  4. DO use a person's title and surname until invited to call them by their first name.

6. Visitors Etiquette

  1. DO give your host a gift, such as flowers, wine, desserts, brandy, or whiskey.
  2. DON'T sit until invited to sit down, if you are staying for a meal. Your host might want to show to you a specific seat.
  3. DO be on time. Lateness is considered disrespectful.
  4. DO remove your shoes if asked to. In some homes you might be asked to take your shoes off, but this custom isn't as common as it once was.

7. Business Meeting

  1. DON'T sit until told where to sit.
  2. DO expect the possibility of being referred to simply by your last name. This is not out of disrespect, but you should still stick to using a colleague's title and last name when addressing them.
  3. DON'T use hyperbole, show emotions, or make promises that might sound too good to be true.
  4. DO schedule meetings three to four weeks in advance.
  5. DON'T schedule meetings in August, the two weeks that surround Christmas, or the week before Easter.
  6. DON'T be late! If you do happen to be running late, call your business associates right away with a good explanation.
  7. DO be patient and allow your Austrian colleagues to adhere to their protocol.
  8. DO have one side of your business card translated into German.
  9. DO include advanced academic degrees and academic honors printed on your business card. If your company has been around for a long time, also include the founding date on your business card. This will show stability if your company is older and more established.

Remember the above list of etiquettes on your trip to Austria, especially when it comes to business and dining. People in Austria are very proud of their culture, so adhere to the etiquette guidelines whenever possible. Have a safe trip, mind your table manners, and be punctual!

 
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