I went to breakfast with one of my best friends, his wife, and my girlfriend yesterday. We ate a delicious meal at Maltby Cafe in the Seattle area. I paid for mine and the girlfriend’s meal, and my friend paid for his wife’s and his meal.
Splitting a bill does not always run as smoothly as it did yesterday morning. My high school prom night, was the first time I experienced bill splitting hell. We had a group of about 12 people and the restaurant would not give us separate checks. The total bill was about $300. Everyone threw in their fare share and when all the cash was totaled we were over $60 short. It was absolutely miserable trying to figure out who the shady people were that tried to ditch out on their portion. After 20 minutes of arguing, a few of us ended up chipping in extra cash to cover our shortfall. My $15 burger ended up costing $30… a super sucky way to start an already expensive evening.
Here are a few strategies I use to help prevent any bill splitting woes.
1) As the server approaches to take your drink order, ask if it is possible to split the check “x” amount of ways. Asking early makes sure everyone at the table is on the same page and lets your server know to keep separate tabs. This is my preferred method and works at most restaurants.
2) If you consistently go out to meals with one individual, like a coworker, take turns paying for each other’s meal. If you both spend about the same at meals, this option can be a super easy and convenient way to make sure the bill is covered. This also may be necessary as some restaurants don’t allow splitting bills, and if you are like me, you rarely carry cash on you. Plus it makes me feel kind of cool to say “Don’t worry about it, I’ll cover it this time.”
3) Don’t go out to eat with shady people. We all have been to a meal with the douche bag that throws in $10 for his meal that cost $9.99. Mr. Douche doesn’t realize that with tax and tip he should be throwing in between $12 and $13 to cover his portion. If your friends aren’t willing to cover their tab, they shouldn’t be worth going to meals with.
These are three easy ways to prevent awkward situations when the bill arrives. It’s not often that I have to deal with these problems, but they do happen from time to time. Have ya’ll been screwed by jerks that don’t cover their part of the bill? Have you had to pay $30 for your $20 bill? Do you have other strategies to conveniently pay the bill when going out with larger groups?