Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Eating out, what is the best way to split the bill - equally or pay for what you eat?

Payment of the bill often seems to be a sensitive issue when dining out and while reading up on this recently on the web, I came across lots of views on the best approach… split the bill evenly… work out what each diner has spent… split the food equally and the alcohol only between those partaking… let the most sober person work it out… so many possibilities, but which one is the best?

My husband and I often eat out at various bars, restaurants and cafes in the Cotswolds and depending on whom we are with the etiquette around how to split the bill varies. With close friends we typically split the bill equally and make an allowance for people who are not drinking, which to be honest pretty much never happens with our friend group! With close family a parent usually picks up the bill (!) or we split it equally, while with extended family we often go down the calculators at the ready route. I always find in this instance that it is a good time to enjoy a final glass of wine, while a more zealous family member diligently works out to the penny exactly what everyone owes. At least doing it this way avoids the not enough money from some people saga!

Unless we are out with the usual crowd, I always think it is a good idea to decide at the start of the meal what the group want to do with the bill. That way everyone knows at the outset what to expect and any potential awkwardness and unspoken questions such as "I am the only one not drinking and they have ordered another bottle of wine... I wonder if they are expecting me to pay towards that?" are taken away and everyone can focus on enjoying the meal and the company.

Anyway, my own personal preference is splitting the bill equally (making an adjustment for the non-drinkers) and if we absolutely have to go down the pay for your own meal route I recommend leaving it to the most sober member or the group while you sit back and enjoy one final drink!

What do you think is best? Split it or pay your own?

T :-))

NB. Coming soon the controversial issue of should you tip and if so how much?!?!?

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