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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%
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When Going Out to Eat in a Group, How Do You Settle the Bill?
Old 06-21-2016, 06:49 AM   #1
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When Going Out to Eat in a Group, How Do You Settle the Bill?

When you go out to eat in a group, how to you settle the bill? This is assuming there is one bill and not separate checks.

I've described three options below. There are others I probably missed.

1. Divide and Conquer - just divide the total bill by the number of people. Then add together if people are grouped. For example, if bill comes out to $20 each, but 3 people are together in one group, then their total is $60.

2. Folks put in their estimates, last person covers the rest. - One person decides to put the tab on his or her credit card, everyone else gives an estimate of their portion of the bill.

3. Folks put in their estimates, last person puts in estimate, then the fun begins - Everyone puts in their estimate. Then the total is counted and compared to the bill. Make adjustments (give change in case someone over estimated, put more in in case someone under estimated, All the while folks are itching to leave). What fun .
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Old 06-21-2016, 07:03 AM   #2
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My most frequent group dinners (every couple of months) are with former work colleagues, so we just rotate who picks up the tab. Makes it easier than dividing each time.
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Old 06-21-2016, 07:04 AM   #3
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Nowadays when sharing, it is mostly with my brother, and we pretty much each hand over a credit card to the waitress and ask her to split the bill in half, without regard to who ate what or others at the table, especially if there are other family members present.

When I w*rked we ate lunch out regularly, splitting the bill was a daily event. Most often it was one person pulling out a credit card, adding a tip, calculating the per-capita amount, announcing it, and the others handing over that cash to him / her - or making a promise to pay.
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Old 06-21-2016, 07:07 AM   #4
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We go out to a local restaurant after church each week - we're typically a group of 15-20, some of whom very deliberately order less pricey dishes in deference to their personal means or preferences - so separate checks is the only way to work it out.
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Old 06-21-2016, 07:10 AM   #5
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Group of 3, or 3 couples? Put three credit cards in the book and ask the waiter to split 3 ways.

Big thing with like a dozen ppl from work - get separate checks to begin with to avoid "fun". (and avoid those events as much as possible).

If it's any smaller group and there's someone who plays the "but I only had the salad" and doesn't want to just evenly divvy - then avoid them too! Unless it's obvious in which case you'll already be going "No, no, mine is $50 yours is $10 so it's silly to split", etc. etc.
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Old 06-21-2016, 07:10 AM   #6
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We don't generally go out to eat in groups. I don't enjoy the experience of eating with a large group in a restaurant. Exception - family.

If it's family, we often pick up the tab. It's turned into a bit of a game with who can pick up the tab first. Occasionally other family members will sneak away and take care of it before DH can get his hands on the bill.

If we meet a friend or friend couple for a meal, DH usually insists on picking picking up the tab.

For the very rare larger group we revert to the estimate of our portion or more often separate checks. Since we don't do work lunch groups anymore we don't run into the embarrassing not enough after estimates situation. Besides, we use credit cards so there isn't some cash pool. We haven't eaten anywhere in the last several years where the wait staff couldn't split the check. Anyway we absolutely won't eat out with a group larger than 8 unless it's been covered some other way. And I still find those tedious - even with a small tour group where I don't have to worry about the tab.
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Old 06-21-2016, 07:21 AM   #7
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I went out last night with about classmates that I went to grade school with. We went with the last person (me) covers the rest method. A couple of the folks had to leave before the check arrived. As others were making their estimates adding to the kitty, I pulled out my credit card and said just put in what you feel is right and I'll put the rest on my credit card.

My philosophy with this method is the honor system and overall, things balance out. Sometimes folks underestimate, other times they overestimate. Plus the lazy part in me saves having to make my estimate. Over time, after so many dinners, things should balance out. (Can you tell that I like index funds? )

I have a friend who does the "fun" method. The counting then recounting. That's too much for me. But I guess for some, if they thought their meal was $18, but they didn't have dollar bills, they want the $2 change back.
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Old 06-21-2016, 07:22 AM   #8
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When I went to a group lunch for work, we all simply pulled out cash and kicked in what we thought was fair. Somebody always appointed themselves "treasurer" and admonished the group if the "take" wasn't enough to cover tax and tip. Then various people would kick in more.

Don't know how it would work with a group of near-strangers, since I've never been to such an event unless it was pre-paid or a fixed price. I think it would be basically the same as above, though.

It's obviously more difficult if people aren't carrying cash.
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Old 06-21-2016, 07:39 AM   #9
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I go out to dinner with 2 separate old-college-friend-circles every 3 months or so. We always just divide and conquer. Just last night I went to one of those dinners - we met at a small NYC Chinatown restaurant.
I don't even like Chinese food, but I go for the camaraderie. I eat enough to not be hungry. As it turned out, there were 2 celebrations last night, so the small group treated 2 of the guys. I was $55 poorer for eating very little......and loved every minute of that get-together.
Ditto when we go out with another couple. DW and I both tend to eat lighter, so we usually end up paying more than out "fair share." Again, though, the social aspect is much more important to us.
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Old 06-21-2016, 08:00 AM   #10
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We only go out with other couples maybe 3-4 times a year; typically are on the same spending page, so divide equally works well enough.
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Old 06-21-2016, 08:03 AM   #11
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I'm typically out with 2-4 friends. We ask for separate bills unless it is a situation where we've shared a meal or gotten pretty much the same thing. No one carries cash; we pay with individual credit cards. Years ago you'd get glared at for doing so but it is super easy today.
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Old 06-21-2016, 08:16 AM   #12
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If we go out with family, somebody grabs the check because it is usually somebody's treat, like for a birthday. When we dine with others, each person or couple puts in their share of the total food and beverages plus tip. Never a problem either way.
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Old 06-21-2016, 08:20 AM   #13
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Depends on who initiates the lunch or dinner meeting. When we setup the meeting to go out with friends (usually just another couple or old business acquaintance) "for the first time" we usually will offer to pay the entire bill. After that we alternate who pays and it usually works that way. If we are the ones that were invited, they pay the bill the first time and then we pay next time. Never have split the bill. For dinner with family members, we always pay.
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Old 06-21-2016, 08:27 AM   #14
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An increasing number of restaurants are providing individual bills for group dinners, so we either do that or split the bill. For someone's birthday or anniversary the folks with the event do no pay, and the rest of us will split the bill. To me it is just simpler and I'm not going to sweat over the difference of a few bucks.
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Old 06-21-2016, 08:34 AM   #15
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Whichever way results in me paying more. Thus, if I know that my food and beverage choice were more than the average, I will compensate by putting more into the pot. If my choices were less than the average, I will split evenly with the others. It's a small matter, but I prefer knowing that I have not imposed on someone else, and I can easily afford it.
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Old 06-21-2016, 08:35 AM   #16
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Separate bills, always.
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Old 06-21-2016, 08:36 AM   #17
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I learned a long time ago that the drinkers are the ones that want to pay by equal division of the bill. I refuse to pay for people's drinks, not because I object to drinking, but because I don't drink and often their drinks exceed the cost of their meals.
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Old 06-21-2016, 08:42 AM   #18
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A group of us (college fraternity brothers) eat out fairly frequently, once or twice a month. We always play credit card roulette. If there are more than 4 or so, we have two losers split and then we compete to see who tips better.

Two of us were at a third's daughter's wedding. I told the father of the bride to walk up to the table where the two of us were sitting at the end of the night with a stack of papers and his credit card and announce, "okay guys time to get the credit cards out!" I wanted to see the other guy's reaction.
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Old 06-21-2016, 09:10 AM   #19
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If I'm out with my friends (without DH) we usually do an even split--one person calculates what the others owe, including a nice tip, and then it's straight division time. None of us has much more costwise so it's usually pretty fair. When DH is out with his guys, they either go for separate checks or they can't, they are figuring their shares out down to the penny. The guys often have different tipping philosophies so better for them to do it that way.

When DH and I are with other people, we typically just split evenly on credit cards and then everyone adds a tip. Sometimes someone will say they owe more but not often, and usually only when we're using cash. We just don't think to ask for separate checks on ordering but sometimes will go that route if the waiter asks. A few weeks ago one couple shared an entree while the others did not, and we could not begin to figure out the single bill; the waiter had no problem having retroactive separate checks prepared.
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Old 06-21-2016, 09:17 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tadpole View Post
I learned a long time ago that the drinkers are the ones that want to pay by equal division of the bill. I refuse to pay for people's drinks, not because I object to drinking, but because I don't drink and often their drinks exceed the cost of their meals.
Yeah, we are careful with this when dividing evenly, even though the people we go out with all drink too. Sort of like tacitly monitoring our entree orders--we watch our friends' choices to make sure we don't unduly tilt the meter by ordering, say, vintage port for desert unless it is consistent with others. Not a big deal monetarily, but can lead to hard feelings. Any small imposition on our consumption is more than worth it.
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