In a country where almost all supermarkets and stores close at 8pm at the latest – and don’t even open on Sundays – the four new vending machines might be the only solution for some people in the capital during the late-night hours.
The idea, which was inspired by 24/7 kiosks in Berlin, was brought to Vienna by DJ and event promoter DJ Mosaken and his friend Christopher Neudeck.
The concept was then adapted as vending machines as it is not legally possible in Austria to keep business places open 24h, Der Standard explains.
The first Wiener Späti is located on Straußgasse 13 and sells items like vodka, award winning regional wine, Tegernseer beer, soft drinks, crisps, instant ramen noodles, salt, UHT milk and condoms.
Speaking about the selection, DJ Mosaken said: “We focus on what suits us and on what we want to present to people.”
According to Der Standard, drinks at the Wiener Späti are on average 70 cents to €1 more than expensive than in regular grocery stores. A bottle of white wine from Heurigen Muth costs €12 and a three-pack of condoms is €6.90.
In a comparison with prices at Spar, a packet of spaghetti at the Wiener Späti costs €2.50, whereas at Spar it is €0.99.
Although the Späti concept of selling a range of products 24/7 is new for Vienna, there are already beer vending machines dotted across the city. There is also the “Foodie Fridge” in the 2nd District that offers lemonade and home cooked food around the clock from a vending machine.
Outside of Vienna, vending machines can be found at pharmacies for out-of-hours access to items like plasters and condoms, and it’s common in rural areas to find cheese and vegetable kiosks operating under an honesty box system.
The ‘Späti’ – short for Spätkauf which means ‘late shop’ – is common place all over the German capital and became increasingly important during the Covid pandemic.