Austria does not have as strong a business entertaining culture as some other, more southern European cultures which reflects the strong separation which is often made between work and private life.
Thus, it is fairly unusual to be taken out for dinner and even rarer to be invited to someone’s home. Most business entertaining is done over lunch — usually at a good restaurant. (Breakfast meetings are extremely rare in Austria.)
During a business meal, it is possible to talk about business, but it might be wisest to delay introducing work related issues until the host raises the matter.
If invited out for a meal, the host will always expect to pay. Similarly, if you invite someone for a business lunch, you will be expected to pick up the bill. In Austria, both the knife and fork are used throughout the meal. Eating with only one hand, with the other hand placed on ones lap under the table, (as is common in North America) is not considered particularly good table etiquette.
Alcohol will usually be offered at lunch and dinner but many Austrians will refrain from drinking at lunch time. It is probably best to take your lead from your host.
It is quite usual to tip in Austria. A tip of around 10% should be given directly to the waiter at the end of a meal.
Written and Produced by Keith Warburton
This country profile has been produced to give a short overview of some of the key concepts to bear in mind when doing business with contacts in Austria. It is intended to be an aid to business people who have commercial dealings with counterparties in the country but should not be seen as an exhaustive guide to this topic or as a substitute for more substantial research should there be a need.
With this in mind, we have covered the areas which are key to a better understanding of the cultural mindset underpinning business dealings in Austria and which are, quite often, extremely different from the approach and thought processes associated with business in other parts of the world.
Therefore this briefing note is broken into short, bite-sized sections on the following topics: