Dining out with friends is one of life’s great pleasures – figuring out how to split the bill is not. End your meal on a sweet note thanks to these seven simple tips on how to make this oft-awkward transaction as smooth as possible.
1. Discuss payment options
Everyone hates that awkward moment when your cheque arrives and no one makes a move to flip it over. Instead of faking a fascination with a spot on the floor, be upfront with your group and discuss in advance whether you’re splitting the bill. If your fellow diners hesitate to say anything, suggest splitting the bill to make things simpler.
Sometimes people suggest splitting bills equally. This could be a lot easier for your server but doesn’t seem so great when your friend orders twice as much food or drinks as you. It doesn’t hurt to be firm with your request for the bills to be split based on what you actually ordered.
2. Tell your server in advance
Make your busy server’s job a little easier by asking them to split the check on their POS system before they bring you the bill. Your server will appreciate the advance notice and will have more time in which to ensure individual bills are placed in the right hands. Double check the receipts to make sure that your meals are properly accounted for and be on your way.
3. Calculate with an app
There are so many helpful apps out there designed specifically to help you split cheques and figure out tip amounts, which comes in handy when servers don’t have the technology (or the desire) to split them for you. Try Divvy – just take a picture of your bill and the app will help you divide your total. Some apps can even help you determine your fair share of the tip.
4. Tip, please
On that note, do make sure you tip. It’s every server’s worst nightmare that they’ll create separate checks for a large group of diners only to find that less than half of them gave tips. Even if someone else says they’re covering the tip, you should still add your own to make sure the server is appropriately thanked. Worst case they get a generous thank you from your group.
5. Less is more
If you find yourself with a larger group that wants to divide the bill into individual cheques, try to limit the number of resulting bills. Perhaps those paying cash can go on the same bill, for example. There will be a lot less hassle for the server and you’ll all be out of the restaurant in less time than if you had to accommodate individual transactions.
6. Offer to pay credit
If everyone at your table is planning on paying separately and everyone has cash except you, offer to cover the entire bill on credit and get your friends to pay you back with their cash. Again, you’ll save a lot of time waiting for change and individual bills. Plus, if you have rewards card, you’ll get something back.
7. Offer to cover the meal
While this may seem like an obvious one, it’s a very kind gesture to offer to pay the entire bill once in a while. In the wonderful world of dining out, at some point your cheque-paying good karma will return to you, likely in the form of a fully paid meal with great company.