Paradise launched

metroblogging vienna flickr photo from scottpartee

In what I hope is the first wave in a trend that continues, a handful of Vienna’s restaurants are following the law and creating designated non-smoking sections.

I was thinking about it the other day, and smoking in restaurants is bad for Vienna’s economy. Due to finally being annoyed enough with so many meals being ruined by smoking in the room, my family has almost entirely ceased going out.

We were spending somewhere between 20-50 EUR per visit (plus we tip better than most — although we’re stupid because it certainly never helped the service). I figure we went out 5-6 times per week. So Vienna’s (especially Neubau’s) restaurants are now missing out on somewhere between 100-300 EUR in sales.

Here’s the flip side: if smoking is diminished or even outright banned in restaurants, all economic data from cities that have done so indicates that businesses suffer no negative effect. In short, smokers will still go out to eat, and just save their cigarettes for outside or in designated smoking areas. So really, the hospitality industry lobby against smoking bans is really not economic in its basis, but rather a complete unwillingness to “see past one’s own plate” as the expression goes.

Anyway, places like Jalisco in 1040, my hat is off to you. You will get my business going forward.

As for laggard places, you’ll continue to miss my Euros.

This makes me wonder if I should start a series on all my personal restaurant boycotts. While I don’t know if it would be in the interest of Metro Blogging, it would certainly be interesting to me. Some of the stories I can tell…

4 Comments so far

  1. georg cracked (unregistered) on January 16th, 2007 @ 7:11 am

    please, go ahead. Tell us them stories..

  2. Janet M Kincaid (unregistered) on January 18th, 2007 @ 2:31 pm

    I lived in Vienna in the early 90s and was amazed (more accurately appalled) at the level of smoking in Austria. I’m glad to hear that restaurants are designating non-smoking areas. I’ve lived, worked, or traveled on business in several cities in the U.S. that have enacted smoking bans in bars and restaurants–San Francisco, New York City, and, most recently, Washington, D.C., which is where I currently live and work.

    I’d stopped going out to restaurants because of the smoking and how unpleasant it made eating out. I went out last night, though, and was pleased to come home without a sore throat, burning eyes, an unpleasant taste in my mouth, stinking clothes, or any of the other detractors that smoking brings about. As smoking is an unhealthy and unsightly habit, I’m glad to see it go. I hope the Viennese end up feeling the same way. I think even those who smoke will find they’re enjoying their dining experience as much, if not more, than when they could smoke.

    Bravo, Wien!

  3. scott (unregistered) on January 18th, 2007 @ 2:46 pm

    It’s a baby step to be sure. The vast majority of Viennese public spaces are still terribly smokey. I went to the mall food court for lunch today and was nearly smoked out.

  4. wien0004 (unregistered) on January 24th, 2007 @ 3:59 pm

    I’ve lived in Vienna about 15 years and, like Scott and his family, we have gradually given up on going out to eat because of smoking. I know other families here who say the same.
    Unfortunately, because of the new State Secretary for Infrastructure’s mentality towards smoking, I don’t think institutional change will be as rapid as Georg supposes. At most, a few tables will be designated “non-smoking”, if that, at any given restaurant as opposed to a flat-out ban like in other cities/countries. Of course the smoke just wafts over from other tables….
    “Einstein”, between the Rathaus and the Uni, has had a non-smoking room for years. It’s grungy –no windows — but it’ll do in a pinch. Otherwise we have to wait for the Schanigartens to open!
    LG aus Wien

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