February 6, 2013 by Diniquette
This is a topic that always causes controversy. There are many etiquette “experts” out there with very different opinions on this subject; one actually suggested that regardless of your budget and what your ordered, that you should pay equally. (SHE IS WRONG). However, as someone who actually had to deal with this, on a weekly basis, for 20+ years, here’s what I say:
*Most restaurants have a computer system that makes splitting the check easy. I’ve worked on Aloha, Micros, Dinerware and a few that are no longer in existence and they ALL assisted when it came time to split the check. Do the servers like doing this? NO; because they’re usually handed 7 credit cards and that takes time to process, and that means time OFF of the floor and away from the other paying guests who are now being deprived service. So if you’re going to split the check, try to keep payment methods down to a minimum….but as far as the restaurant goes: this is not a big deal.
*In regards to whom pays for what: If you all spend around the same amount, just split the check evenly; it’ll all work out in the wash eventually, (assuming this is someone you dine with often).
*If you ordered minimally, and your friends did not, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO SET YOUR BOUNDRIES. If you only wish to pay for what you ordered: tell your friends that; however, I would strongly suggest having cash on you because that situation goes down much better if you have cash…..and the truth of the matter is if you’re dining with friends who are NOT ok with this, I would seriously reconsider that relationship.
*The same is true if you’re dining with someone who is a cheapskate. YOU NEED TO SPEAK UP. Everyone knows the rules of dining out, you need to ask your friend to pay their share. If they don’t, that means you’re putting out extra money. I had a friend who was always “short” on cash when we would eat at the diner; needless to say I stopped going out to eat with her.
I understand this can be a tricky situation and sometimes it’s easier to pay up than open your mouth; but I promise you, that will never work out in your favor. It is totally acceptable to respectfully say what you will and will not pay for….and remember: cash is king; that always makes these situations less tricky;(especially if you’re on a strict budget)…..and as a reminder: being on a budget DOESN’T MEAN THAT YOU TIP LESS THAN 15% – 20% ON EVERYTHING THAT YOU ORDERED….THAT DOESN’T FLY!
Thanks for reading.