Where to Eat Around the World ts

Café Vollpension, the First “Pay As You Wish” Venue Run by Seniors.

Serena Curto
copertina cafe vollpension 2023 08 16 00 45 25

Generosity Experiment in a Restaurant on Vienna's Johannesgasse, Where the Bill Is Up to the Customer. A Push for a More Inclusive Society, Acting in the Name of Community and Cordiality.

The news

If you visit Café Vollpension on Vienna's Johannesgasse, you won't find any prices on the menu. The bill is then presented with a total of zero: you pay at your discretion. According to a recently published online survey about expatriates, Austria would be the world's least friendly country. However, the fact that Vienna also has the highest quality of life isn't enough for the operators of the full-board on Johannesgasse. They want to set an example with a pilot project in the name of unity, friendliness, and generosity, as explained in detail by Rolling Pin.

Se andate al Full Board, nella Johannesgasse di Vienna, non troverete alcun prezzo sul menu. Il conto viene poi presentato con la somma zero: si paga a propria discrezione.  Secondo uno studio sugli espatri recentemente pubblicato online, l'Austria sarebbe il paese più ostile del mondo. Eppure, il fatto che Vienna sia allo stesso tempo la città con la più alta qualità di vita non è sufficiente per i gestori della pensione completa di Johannesgasse. Vogliono così dare l'esempio con un progetto pilota in nome dell'unione, della cordialità e della generosità, spiegato nel dettaglio da Rolling Pin.

vollpension vienna cafe

"Gifting Forward" is the name of the concept behind the experiment, which is quickly explained: guests come to the full-service pension run by still-active seniors, consume what they prefer, and receive a bill with a total of zero euros because the bill has already been paid by previous guests. You don't need to be a business economics expert to understand that the system could be exploited maliciously. Nonetheless, it seems to be successful.

Full Board Vienna sala

With the establishment of the Generation Café, a decade ago, the pension did pioneering work: the elderly prepare and serve sweets themselves. The new idea, borrowed from former Obama advisor Nipun Mehta, who coined the term "Giftivism" is the first of several moves by the board of directors to improve the "unfriendly" image of the federal capital.

cafe vollpension vienna Mark Glassner
@Mark Glassner

Co-founder Moriz Piffl-Percevic takes stock after the first two weeks: "The operation pays back 100%," at least from an emotional standpoint. The staff loves it, and most guests do too. Financially, however, the accounts don't fully balance." Since the start of the Gifting Forward project, the restaurant has indeed recorded a loss of 5-10%. Some guests pay much more than they enjoyed, many pay roughly the same regular price, and very few don't pay at all. 
"But the positive effect the experiment has on people far outweighs our small loss," says Piffl-Percevic.

cafe vollpension vienna cibi

The slight decline is also explained by the fact that prices are difficult for guests to evaluate without a fixed menu. It's possible that the system will be adjusted in subsequent iterations. "We're not giving up. We believe that both the emotional impact on guests and the economic success will stabilize enough to maintain the model permanently and thus create a positive push for a more compassionate lifestyle."

Full Board Vienna

Overall, guest feedback on the experiment is predominantly positive; the impulse towards a "we" society is well received by all. "To further enhance the relational experience, our visitors now have the opportunity to leave a personal message for the next guests. Where else, in today's world, can you receive a heartfelt message from a stranger who has also paid for the meal? And how does it feel to be generous and do something good for others?" concludes Piffl-Percevic.

Latest news

show all

We respect your Privacy.
We use cookies to ensure you an accurate experience and in line with your preferences.
With your consent, we use technical and third-party cookies that allow us to process some data, such as which pages are visited on our website.
To find out more about how we use this data, read the full disclosure.
By clicking the ‘Accept’ button, you consent to the use of cookies, or configure the different types.

Configure cookies Reject