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View Poll Results: How do you determine what each diner pays when you go out to eat as part of a group?
Each diner/couple pays an equal share 9 22.50%
Each diner/couple pays for exactly what they ate or drank 12 30.00%
Each diner/couple pays for approximately what they ate or drank 11 27.50%
One person pays the whole tab. 2 5.00%
Other (please explain) 6 15.00%
Voters: 40. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-25-2006, 10:26 PM   #1
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Restaurant Check Splitting

When you go out to dinner as part of a group or with a friend, how do you handle the calculation of how much each person pays?

Let's assume this is not a 'thank you' dinner where you would pay it all. Just a group of folks who agreed to get together for a meal.
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Old 07-25-2006, 11:23 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Andy M.
When you go out to dinner as part of a group or with a friend, how do you handle the calculation of how much each person pays?
I put that each pays for their own and leaves their own tip. However, the exception to that is if I've invited the couple as a way of thanking them for some act of kindness they've did for me........then I foot the bill & tip.
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Old 07-25-2006, 11:38 PM   #3
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i voted "other" because there's so many different situations that require different tactful handing of the situation.

if you have invited someone, be it guests, relatives, or another couple for any special or even non-specific occasion, the you foot the bill.

if you have been invited as such, you should offer to pay your share, expecting to be refuted, but you should be humbly ready and able to oblige your offer. insist on paying your share, to allow the host to save face and be gracious. but don't make a scene
now remember, you said humbly...

any other gatherings. like of couples/families where it is a simple get together for no particular reason, then the bill is split evenly, no matter who had the lobster, who polished off the wine, and who ordered the baked alaska.

if any part of the experience pisses you off, chalk it up to experience and never dine with them again (until you can get your full retribution...mwahahahaha)
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Old 07-26-2006, 12:18 AM   #4
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I voted other because in England we tend to do the divide the whole bill into the number of diners thing, in Australia we tend to sit with a piece of paper a pen and a calculator and work the thing out!!!
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Old 07-26-2006, 12:43 AM   #5
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Everyone pays for their own exactly.
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Old 07-26-2006, 12:51 AM   #6
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wow, that's interesting to me kyles.

here, the paying of the check has always been a sort of power play/social juggling act.

i've been to dinners out where one couple wanted to calculate their share, and pay their own tip. it always becomes akward after that, causing the rest of the group to try to make up the difference. no one wants to, so when i take over, my wife gets upset that we always end up getting stuck. (so i make sure to order the white truffle stuffed saffron enfused jumbo african lobster tails ).

often non-alcohol drinkers will have a problem with the system, so it is often agreed to before hand to have seperate checks for food and alcohol. that's ok with me.
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Old 07-26-2006, 12:56 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by buckytom

i've been to dinners out where one couple wanted to calculate their share, and pay their own tip. it always becomes akward after that, causing the rest of the group to try to make up the difference.
I don't really understand what you mean by that. How does everyone else have to make up the difference?
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Old 07-26-2006, 01:17 AM   #8
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ok, well, like i said, it's usually a loose agreement when several couples dine together that the check will be split evenly: if the bill is $500, and there's five couples, it's a hundred a piece, plus tip.

let's say andy m. and his s.o. felt that they only had the chicken specials, "house" instead of fancy salads, no oysters, and only coffee after dinner, andy would then only put up $60 bucks to cover his share plus a measly tip, and quickly take off to the front door where the valet awaits with his ferrari .
welll, the other couples are forced to put in the $40 +tip that andy refused to pay. you could leave it out, blaming him, but the wait staff ends up suffering as that $$$ usually ends up coming out of the tip. then you all look bad.

so i've learned, after dealing with people like him (disclaimer:andy m. has only been used as an example in this scenario. the fact that andy may be cheap is entirely up to him...sorry man...this is too funny to resist), i've found that you need to be willing to agree to make the arrangements when you make the date (awkward at best), or be willing to suffer the consequences (more costly but less awkward if done with class).

if you're really in with a bunch of skin flints, pay your minimal way, then go back and tip the waitstaff personally.
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Old 07-26-2006, 01:31 AM   #9
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I agree separate checks for each couple. We had "friends" who always insisted on splitting the check...the only thing they had several drinks and we didn't, so we were always overpaying. After a few times of this, I told dh I would not go to dinner with them at all. I would really like to know what the thinking would be from someone who did this. Were we being suckers? If they considered us friends, why would they do that to us? Why would anyone think it is ok for one couple to subsidize another couple in such a way? Of course, if we invite someone to dinner, we pay all unless it is a situation where we just meet people and all pay our share. We had a rather strange situation once with someone we ate with and he put the meal on company charge card, but we paid him in cash. I thought that was very tacky, to say nothing of being dishonest. We were not clients.
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Old 07-26-2006, 01:42 AM   #10
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BT, I still don't understand what you are saying. If Andy pays his part of the bill and it is 60, why should he put in extra 40 just because you ate the white truffle stuff? Are you the guy we ate with and split the bill? I have NO problem splitting the bill if everyone has about the same thing, but that isn't usually the case. There is usually a "big spender" in the bunch who comes up with the idea of splitting the bill evenly when he ordered the whole shebang and others may not have. Why would I expect someone else to pick up part of my tab if I ordered much more than they? I don't care how part of the world does it, I don't like it and don't pay it. And the word "skinflint" certainly doesn't apply to this situation. I can't think of a polite word to use for the person who expects others to overcompensate for him.
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Old 07-26-2006, 02:03 AM   #11
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ah, now you're asking about the intracacies of what it means to be a good dinner friend.

of course, you shouldn't order the most expensive stuff, or extra courses, or extra rounds of drinks if the bill is being split (but i have had people do that to me, knowing they couldn't pay). wait until the bill is paid, then order your own extra drinks or desserts seperately.

but so long as everyone has the sense to do the same, it appears a bit petty to calculate your dinner to within a few dollars of the actual amount being asked of you.

the problems begin when you go to dinner with andy, er, i mean people who are worried about spending an extra 5 bucks over what they think they actually should pay. like i said, drinks get expensive and vary greatly in price from a $6 pint to a $14 martini (the going rates in many places in nyc these days), so a seperate check for alcohol is only logical.

but if you're actually counting dollar by dollar who had what, then be bold enough to request a seperate check before the meal begins. it makes it easier to spot the skin flints that way (just kidding... )

you're there to enjoy the company of friends over good food; not live with the angst and fear of being ripped off by a few bucks by your friends.
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Old 07-26-2006, 02:13 AM   #12
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I'm wondering why we are seeing this from opposite sides. If these people are my friends, don't they want to pay their share? If one person (or couple) pays an extra few bucks, haven't they subsidized another or others in the process? We usually do request separate checks and that resolves many problems. Do people actually go to dinner and order things they can't afford to pay for or not bring money to pay for? Unless someone has invited me and told me they are treating, I always expect to pay my tab and tip. But my friends feel the same way I do and we don't have a problem.
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Old 07-26-2006, 02:23 AM   #13
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i think my point is lost in your explanation. 2 sides of the same coin, really.

yes, the fact that you're friends means who cares if you "subsidize" someone else's meal for a few bucks. the reason you overlook the few dollars here and there is because the main reason was to enjoy each other's company, not quibble over a few pesos. it is just more expedient to divide the check, within reason, equally. that way the meaning of the evening is not reduced in the least by matters of money.
besides, if you remain freinds, there'll always come a time where you had the slightly more expensive meal, and were subsidized.

man, that whole word, subsidize, kills the entire feeling of enjoying a dinner with friends. that's why you just divide the check blindly, and forget petty costs.
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Old 07-26-2006, 02:52 AM   #14
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i think my point is lost in your explanation. 2 sides of the same coin, really.

yes, the fact that you're friends means who cares if you "subsidize" someone else's meal for a few bucks. the reason you overlook the few dollars here and there is because the main reason was to enjoy each other's company, not quibble over a few pesos. it is just more expedient to divide the check, within reason, equally. that way the meaning of the evening is not reduced in the least by matters of money.
besides, if you remain freinds, there'll always come a time where you had the slightly more expensive meal, and were subsidized.

man, that whole word, subsidize, kills the entire feeling of enjoying a dinner with friends. that's why you just divide the check blindly, and forget petty costs.
I disagree with you on this one. I went out with several friends who had appetizers, main and dessert along with several glasses of wine. Because of my size and appetite, I had just 2 appies and 2 glasses of wine, but was expected to pay a full share of the bill. Really ticked me off.
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Old 07-26-2006, 03:21 AM   #15
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I'm with Kyles, it's more normal in the UK for the bills to be shared equally. BUT, of course, this usually means that one would not choose all the most expensive items for each course, drink copious amounts of the shared drink etc....! In fact, act in a fairly civilised manner and make sure that all bills are approximately evenly shared!

Mind you, I HAVE been to meals with some groups where one person/one couple break ALL the rules, eat drink etc - leave early, tossing their 'approximation' of their share onto the table .... Funny, it is NEVER enough to cover what they ate! Still, we can then all talk about them when they've gone, so they provide the after-dinner entertainment
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Old 07-26-2006, 04:47 AM   #16
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I voted number 3 because that's how we usually do it but sometimes there will be someone who didn't bring cash. On those occasions, they've picked up the tab and everyone else just gave him or her the cash for their food and drinks. Also, the term approximately in relation to most of my friends that I dine out with refers to the fact that most of us usually over estimate what we each spent and we usually end up throwing more into the pot than necessary.

I wouldn't ask or even think to split the dinner tab evenly amongst the number of diners, mainly because I'm one of the ones who is ordering the Foies Gras appetizer, Lobster Carpaccio, Kobe Beef Filet, Silver Oak Cab, and glass of Remy XO. I'm not going to limit myself to spend say, an average of $40 just because I don't want the others to have pay more on the final bill. If the other people though are insistent or agree on splitting up the check evenly, I'll ask the waithelp for a seperate check because I know I'm going to be ordering much more. For the friends that know me, it's pretty much expected. Sometimes there will be people that haven't eaten with me or with some of my friends that like to eat/drink like me, and whenever we ask for seperate checks, they're like "Oh don't worry about it, we'll just split it up." The people that know us are like ,"Trust them, you don't want to be paying $150 when you ordered only $60 worth of food/drinks."

I think a lot of it also depends on the friends that you're dining with (age, demographics, etc. etc.) and this leads to the differences in philosophies. Like I said, from my experiences, most of the time everyone will end up putting what could be construed as too much money into the pot, which usually ends up with the waithelp getting a 25% or more tip. But then if the service was good we could care less. It's more about the experience that it is about the money. Once in awhile we'll have a friend that tries to chince out but some of us are a pretty vocal bunch (especially after cocktails and a few bottles of wine) and pretty soon they learn to put enough dough into the pot.

Just a helpful hint: if you elect for seperate checks, please request for it BEFORE you order and not after. Makes it easier for the waithelp to enter in the items to be ordered into the computers and not have to manually seperate everything afterwards.
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Old 07-26-2006, 06:53 AM   #17
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I disagree with you on this one. I went out with several friends who had appetizers, main and dessert along with several glasses of wine. Because of my size and appetite, I had just 2 appies and 2 glasses of wine, but was expected to pay a full share of the bill. Really ticked me off.
since you are a resasonable person who knows that you're going to eat less, but still want to dine with friends, just politely request that you have a seperate check before the meal starts. like i said, a bit awkward, but if you feel the money overpaid by you is important or the amount disparate enough , then that's the way to go.
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Old 07-26-2006, 07:12 AM   #18
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Everyone throws in a credit card ideally and splits the tip. Barring that, you pay and everyone is "honor bound" to pay for what their was plus a bit, and you hope you don't get stiffed.
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Old 07-26-2006, 07:30 AM   #19
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I picked other because each situation is different. Most of the time though we end up splitting the check evenly. When we go out with friends we all generally order around the same $ amount in food and drink. And if we don't then it is no big deal because we know that it will all come around in the end. What I mean by that is we may pay a few extra bucks one night because my wife did not have any drinks at the restaurant, but then those same friends might invite us over to their house for a meal or something.

If we were out to dinner though and everyone was just getting something small and I saw something on the menu that was quite a lot more expensive, but just had to have it then we will either pay more at the end of the night or insist on paying the tip or some other way to make sure our friends do not get stuck paying more than they should.

If we are out with people who may not be good friends, but maybe people we as just getting to know or maybe people at work who we are not friends with outside of the office or something then we will take cues from them at the end of the meal. Sometimes we each pay our own and sometimes it is split. We have no problem doing either of these.
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Old 07-26-2006, 08:17 AM   #20
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I disagree with you on this one. I went out with several friends who had appetizers, main and dessert along with several glasses of wine. Because of my size and appetite, I had just 2 appies and 2 glasses of wine, but was expected to pay a full share of the bill. Really ticked me off.
If you chose to eat only 2 appies and a couple of glasses of wine, your tab could have equaled the same as everyone else's. I went to lunch yesterday with 5 other women. I had two appetizers and a Bloody Mary. Apps = 16.00. Bloody Mary = 4.75. My bill was a dollar more than the average at the table. In Michigan when we dine with our friends we split the check equally among the number of diners. In the West Coast we ask for separate checks. If you split the bill what can it cost you extra? So you pay a buck or two more for your dinner. The worst thing in the world to me is to have someone sitting at the table with a freakin' calculator figuring each diner's portion to the penny. That' so tacky. If you rally feel strongly about this and you know that you will eat far less than the rest of the group, ask for a separate check. Enjoy your friends and your lunch/dinner and don't sweat the extra couple of bucks. You can get them next time.
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