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View Poll Results: When Eating in a Group, How Do You Settle the Bill?
Divide and Conquer 40 53.33%
Folks put in their estimates, last person covers the rest 2 2.67%
Folks put in their estimates, last person puts in estimate, then the fun begins 7 9.33%
other 26 34.67%
Voters: 75. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-22-2016, 07:01 AM   #41
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Restaurants must be the only business in existence where splitting a bill is considered "normal", and where providing people with separate bills for what they actually purchased is frowned upon...in some places, at least.
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Old 06-22-2016, 08:27 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
I've had group meals where payment was by each of the poll options. However, lots of people are capable of calculating exactly what each person owes, it's not rocket surgery - surprised that wasn't a poll option. These days we just split evenly or ask for separate checks. Allowing people to estimate is our least favorite option - for whatever reason some diners "forget" or underestimate taxes and tips.
Looking at the poll I created, guess there were several "other" options I didn't think of. Like the one you mentioned about someone else doing the figuring.

Reading articles, some say the best thing is at the beginning someone mentions to ground rules upfront (like we are going to pay separately or some other method). But that always doesn't happen. So, it's kind of funny when the check arrives and their is that silence. I think either the check stops and someone starts calculating, or like donations when the basket collection goes around in church, folks start putting in what they estimate is right.
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Old 06-22-2016, 10:41 AM   #43
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Another look at the paying for dinner situation according to game theory. I like how the author summarized the pros/cons of the typical methods of pay:


Quote:
“We’re going to split the bill,”ť said the organizer at my friend’s ninth grade birthday party. I didn’t think much of it until I ended up paying $40 for a $10 entree. I felt cheated because I didn’t order a drink like most others. I was afraid to ruin the party mood, so I concealed my own anger, and that ended up ruining the night for me.

If you’re like people I know, I’m sure you’ve had similar horror stories. The overall feeling is that everyone seems to pay too much and no one is happy.

Quote:
Thinking about an ideal outcome

What’s an ideal outcome? I think it would have three elements: that each person orders properly, each person pays what is owed, and the money is collected quickly.

How do the three methods compare on these criteria?

Splitting the bill –>Over order, over pay, quick collection
Pay what you ordered–>Order correctly, a few overpay, moderately fast collection
Separate checks–>Inconvenient for sharing, pay correctly, slow collection

So each method is the best at exactly one trait. Perhaps that’s why there’s such disagreement over what to do–each method has its unique merit.
Splitting the bill at restaurants using game theory – Mind Your Decisions

I personally prefer if possible, separate checks. If not then, pay for what you ordered, but don't whip out a calculator and ask who ordered what as IMO, that kind of defeats the hopefully, pleasant dinner. I like the idea of one person just putting the tab on a credit card. That way, there is some anonymity, plus, in theory, if everyone paid their "fair share", then everything should be equal and no complaints.
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Old 06-22-2016, 11:09 AM   #44
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Splitting the bill –>Over order, over pay, quick collection
Pay what you ordered–>Order correctly, a few overpay, moderately fast collection
Separate checks–>Inconvenient for sharing, pay correctly, slow collection

So each method is the best at exactly one trait. Perhaps that’s why there’s such disagreement over what to do–each method has its unique merit.
Of course, people will weight each of those "inconveniences" differently. I don't like subsidizing other people's more expensive meals or liquor consumption...it's not so much the money as a matter of fairness. I don't pay for an oil change by chipping in for someone else's brake job.

It takes little to no extra time to create a new bill for each customer. Then when it comes time to pay, hand me my bill and a portable card machine and I'm done paying in 20 seconds. Restaurants that refuse separate bills fail at customer service.
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Old 06-22-2016, 11:17 AM   #45
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Of course, people will weight each of those "inconveniences" differently. I don't like subsidizing other people's more expensive meals or liquor consumption...it's not so much the money as a matter of fairness. I don't pay for an oil change by chipping in for someone else's brake job.

It takes little to no extra time to create a new bill for each customer. Then when it comes time to pay, hand me my bill and a portable card machine and I'm done paying in 20 seconds. Restaurants that refuse separate bills fail at customer service.
Restaurants have the incentive to place on one bill as there is the tendency what that happens, people order more. Maybe that's the feast now, worry about the bill later psychology.
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Old 06-22-2016, 11:19 AM   #46
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I'm not interested in eating out with people where I have to "play games" when the bill comes. And I don't. I guess the retirees I eat out with are well off enough that they are proactive about covering their part of any bill - and at requesting separate checks, or taking turns treating, or whatever.

And I can't remember the last time I ate out at a place that wasn't perfectly happy to separate out checks even after the fact if needed.
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Old 06-22-2016, 11:45 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
Reading articles, some say the best thing is at the beginning someone mentions to ground rules upfront (like we are going to pay separately or some other method).
I agree this is best.

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I'm not interested in eating out with people where I have to "play games" when the bill comes. And I don't. I guess the retirees I eat out with are well off enough that they are proactive about covering their part of any bill - and at requesting separate checks, or taking turns treating, or whatever.

And I can't remember the last time I ate out at a place that wasn't perfectly happy to separate out checks even after the fact if needed.
Same here on both counts. Many restaurants ask upfront if we want separate checks, but it hasn't been an issue yet for us.
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Old 06-22-2016, 11:49 AM   #48
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Restaurants must be the only business in existence where splitting a bill is considered "normal", and where providing people with separate bills for what they actually purchased is frowned upon...in some places, at least.
I've noticed, at least at the places I frequent, the resistance of restaurants to provide separate checks is diminishing. The most push-back I've experienced recently was quickly dispersed when each of three couples sitting together simply asked to be seated at separate tables in order to receive seperate checks. The waitress disappeared for a moment and quickly returned, a big smile on her face and a extra friendly tone in her voice, and announced that "of course we could sit together and still get separate checks."

One place we used to frequent had a policy of no separate checks for groups of 6 or more and automatically added a tip of 18% to the single bill. The last time we went there (4 couples and a single = 9 people), we asked for an exception and they refused. No problem. We handled it OK but left no additional tip beyond the 18% on the table, told the manager in a friendly tone we wouldn't be back and we haven't. It's a nice place but not nice enough to not have things "our way." Unless a restaurant is extremely popular, I don't think they can afford to not listen to the desires of their customers.
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Old 06-22-2016, 11:57 AM   #49
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I've noticed, at least at the places I frequent, the resistance of restaurants to provide separate checks is diminishing.
Up here the servers almost always ask "together or separate cheques". I can't recall a place that refused to do so when asked.

Quote:
One place we used to frequent had a policy of no separate checks for groups of 6 or more and automatically added a tip of 18% to the single bill. The last time we went there (4 couples and a single = 9 people), we asked for an exception and they refused. No problem. We handled it OK (thanks to the calculator function on my smart phone) but left no additional tip beyond the 18% on the table, told the manager in a friendly tone we wouldn't be back and we haven't.
I'd never return either. I want my bill, and mine only, and if it's a mandatory 18%, then it's not a tip...it's surcharge.
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Old 06-22-2016, 11:59 AM   #50
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I almost never put myself in the position to be in a large group at a restaurant unless I know someone else is paying. Otherwise, separate checks is the only way i'd do it.
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Old 06-22-2016, 12:33 PM   #51
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I'm an ugly old curmudgeon, and would love to be like that alligator guy that can't reach the check! We're usually separate checks, but if I want to surprise everybody, after we first sit down, I get up to "go to the bathroom", but chase down the wait-person and have them run my credit card and bring the whole bill to me.
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Old 06-22-2016, 12:42 PM   #52
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If I'm just out with 1 or 2 friends - we each estimate, and make sure we have enough.

If it's a larger group - like when I w*rked - it was totaled then divided by the number of people. It tended to be lunch and most people ordered water to drink... so it was usually reasonably fair. We did sometimes surcharge one coworker - he always ordered the most expensive thing, and a pricey beverage, and sometimes an appetizer when no one else was ordering aps.... but he was willing and happy to pay the surcharge.

I don't eat out in groups that often. Family - we usually offer to treat. We're going out with my sister tomorrow... we'll treat her. We're a 4-pack with the kids - so the bulk of the bill is ours, anyway.

My biggest concern, like Gumby, is to make sure I've paid my share or more... so there is no ill-will or resentment directed at me. I don't eat out at pricey places and don't eat out frequently ... so this is a small price for harmony with friends and family.
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Old 06-22-2016, 02:48 PM   #53
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I'm an ugly old curmudgeon, and would love to be like that alligator guy that can't reach the check! We're usually separate checks, but if I want to surprise everybody, after we first sit down, I get up to "go to the bathroom", but chase down the wait-person and have them run my credit card and bring the whole bill to me.
That's my Dad's trick.
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Old 06-22-2016, 02:53 PM   #54
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I'm an ugly old curmudgeon, and would love to be like that alligator guy that can't reach the check! We're usually separate checks, but if I want to surprise everybody, after we first sit down, I get up to "go to the bathroom", but chase down the wait-person and have them run my credit card and bring the whole bill to me.
In spite of my comments about separate bills, I also do that on occasion. I meet a friend for lunch every now and then and we always try to one-up the other by paying the bill before the other guy has a chance. I just don't like it when the restaurant assumes that one bill is fine for a group.
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Old 06-23-2016, 12:07 AM   #55
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One place we used to frequent had a policy of no separate checks for groups of 6 or more and automatically added a tip of 18% to the single bill. The last time we went there (4 couples and a single = 9 people), we asked for an exception and they refused. No problem. We handled it OK but left no additional tip beyond the 18% on the table, told the manager in a friendly tone we wouldn't be back and we haven't. It's a nice place but not nice enough to not have things "our way." Unless a restaurant is extremely popular, I don't think they can afford to not listen to the desires of their customers.
Some of them slip added items onto the bill for large groups and also have the guarantee of 18%. I agree that avoidance is the best policy but some restaurants that do that remain favorites for spouses who never settle.
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Old 06-23-2016, 09:49 AM   #56
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Some check splitting humor:



My favorite is the woman on the phone who says people are being rude .
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Old 06-23-2016, 10:43 AM   #57
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We go out every month with a mostly-retired group from our church and it's always separate checks. There's a wide variety of financial circumstances. Some order a salad or appetizer, some don't. DH likes a beer and I like a glass of wine. If a single check for the group were split evenly, we'd be reluctant to spend extra knowing that for others who order water and an entrée to subsidize our little luxuries.
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Old 06-23-2016, 11:08 AM   #58
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We go out every month with a mostly-retired group from our church and it's always separate checks. There's a wide variety of financial circumstances. Some order a salad or appetizer, some don't. DH likes a beer and I like a glass of wine. If a single check for the group were split evenly, we'd be reluctant to spend extra knowing that for others who order water and an entrée to subsidize our little luxuries.

When I went out in a group recently, I was the only one who ordered a full meal. But some others ordered drinks, but I did not (except iced tea and soda). We didn't have separate checks, and a couple of people left early before the check arrived so they just left what they felt was the correct amount. I think that automatically set the paying to pay for what you ate.

I didn't purposely order less to match what others didn't order as I'd be starving during the entire time .
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Old 06-23-2016, 11:23 AM   #59
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We don't often eat in situations where the check must be split with lots of other people. In fact, I don't recall doing that during the past 6.5 years of retirement even once. However, we DO eat a light lunch out together every day and split the check between the two of us.

We each contribute our share to the nearest dollar. If it is closer to the half dollar, for example if we each owe $7.50 (including tax and tip), then one pays 7 and the other pays 8. Then the next time the other gets the advantage.

In another example, although we usually split our lunch a few days ago we didn't. Including tax and tip, I owed $7.00 (for a delicious tomato basil soup with water to drink) and he owed $11.00 (for a big pasta marinara dish of some kind, with soft drink). So I paid $7.00 and he paid $11.00.

I love figuring out the bill, the tax and tip, and who pays how much, in my head. F is a brilliant engineer so naturally he loves performing this little arithmetic computation in his head, too. So, even though we each have calculators with us, we do not use them. Instead we each figure out the bill independently in our heads, as a double check. This little math exercise is a great little pleasure for us as we prepare to leave, like a dinner mint but not fattening.
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Old 06-23-2016, 12:06 PM   #60
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I love figuring out the bill, the tax and tip, and who pays how much, in my head. F is a brilliant engineer so naturally he loves performing this little arithmetic computation in his head, too. So, even though we each have calculators with us, we do not use them. Instead we each figure out the bill independently in our heads, as a double check. This little math exercise is a great little pleasure for us as we prepare to leave, like a dinner mint but not fattening.
I like this - Fun with Math!!! My sister and I are the same way - both math nerds who have fun doing mental math.
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