Post # 1
When you go out to dinner in a group, and it’s not a hosted event, how do you handle the check? Do you prefer to split evenly, or for each person to pay for what they ordered?
For me, it depends on the group. If it’s friends I dine out with regularly, I prefer the even split, because it’s so much easier and it all evens out over time.
If it’s a bigger, more diverse group that includes friend(s) as well as people I’ll likely never see again (i.e. the no-host Birthday Dinner), I prefer separate checks and, if that’s not an option, for each person (or couple) to pay for what they ordered. As much as I hate the awkward end-of-meal accounting that has to take place, IMO it is the lesser evil.
Because in my experience, when it’s a mixed group of people that aren’t socially accountable to each other in the same way that a group of close friends would be, there will ALWAYS, ALWAYS be the people who don’t get out much, see that the bill will be split 18 ways, and proceed to order everything on the menu only because they know they are being subsidized by the rest of the group.
It’s not fair to people who want to celebrate with the Birthday Girl without blowing their budget because even though they ordered salads and iced tea, BG’s roommate down at the other end of the table is strategically ordering the 3lb lobster and sucking down top shelf martinis.
What’s your preference?
Post # 3
We’ve never just split the check evenly. We always pay for what we order, which is my preferred method as my husband and I usually try to be a bit more frugal when we’re out to dinner.
Post # 4
It depends on the group.
If it’s a few couples, we usually just all throw in our debit/credit cards and split the bill. If it’s a huge group and includes people I don’t know, I try to grab cash on the way and cover our portion of the bill.
Post # 5
I agree with your analysis, it depends on the group.
Also, we occasionally will just take turns paying if it’s a couple we go out with often enough. Things tend to even out that way, too.
Post # 6
With close friends/small groups we just divide it evenly.
With really large parties (like 12 girls) I find it easier just to figure out what I owe. I don’t know everyones financial situation and inevitably one girl orders like water and a side.
Post # 7
Just what we ordered. Almost all of the places we go to will ask if we want seperate bills so that makes it easier.
Post # 8
90% of the time it is even split because it’s easy. Other times if someone brings it up, then we get seperate bills
Post # 8
If it’s close friends than we usually split the check evenly. (We do have one set of friends though that drink a lot. We don’t split with them) If it’s a larger group than, we will always ask for a seperate check.
Post # 9
It depends on the group I’m with. I like it better when you just pay for what you order. I actually hate when the bill gets split evenly, I know it’s easier, but sometimes when I order half a salad and end up paying twice as much as I should because it was split evenly I don’t find it very fair at all. Now when I go out with the group that splits evenly, I just make sure I order something “expensive” when I’m with them even if I’m not hungry and just take the left overs to go so I don’t get screwed over by the bill.
Post # 10
Usually we ask for separate bills. If it comes as one bill my preference is always even split unless someone had like 5 cocktails, then they need to throw in a bit more. I hate, hate, HATE when people insist on paying for their own on one check — add up your own, with tax, and tip and write it on the back with your Credit Card…inevitably it always comes out to less than the check and someone gets stuck paying a lot more.
Post # 11
Depends on the group. If I’m out to lunch with my girlfriends then we just split the bill. Sure, someone may have had something more expensive or a glass of wine but when we’re talking my best friends, I don’t really care about an extra few bucks. Hell, anytime I end up not covering the whole thing is good enough for me! lol
If it’s more of a couples thing with numerous people then we’ll pay for what we ordered. If DH and I are out with our best couple friends then we just split it since it’s easier that way. Definitely depends on the crowd.
Post # 12
Parties of 6 or less we just tell the waiter at the beginning we want separate checks so he or she doesn’t have to try and figure it all out at the end (who ordered what, who got 3 drinks, who got an appetizer). If it’s more than 6 we just divvy it up equally among us.
Post # 13
If it’s a dinner I always split the check evenly, unless someone at the table insists on individual tally’s. If it’s something more casual like a group check at a bar or something then I will add up what I spent and throw in that much cash or I’ll ask for a separate check. So I guess in my mind the timing of the event comes into play, if you all arrive and leave at the same time and there is one group order I think it should be split evenly, but if it’s a rolling attendence and people are ordering things throughout the night then everyone should pay for what they ordered.
I know in the dinner situation that some people will go for the more expensive glass of wine or entree, but it doesn’t bother me too much. I always order what I want regardless of the price (within reason) so if someones entree is more expensive than mine I don’t feel bad since I ordered what I wanted.
Post # 14
Our practice changes depending on who we are with. Most restaurants have the capacity to give subtotals per customer, even if they give you only one bill.
I’m fed up dealing with those people who always seem to “have to go now” and throw a few bills on the table, then the last 4 of us at the table find that we are short a significant amount of money when it comes time to pay the bill.
Some people only remember that they had the $21 steak, but forget about the appi, wine , tax and tip.
Post # 15
@julies1949: I loathe that person.