How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

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Kennedy
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How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by Kennedy » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:20 pm

I recently met a group of five women for lunch to celebrate a birthday for one of the ladies. Only the birthday girl is a good friend of mine. The others are more casual friends.

When it was time to pay, one lady told the server to split the bill evenly between four of us, so we could treat the one celebrating her birthday. Since I did not order any alcohol and the others did, I was basically (heavily) subsidizing everyone else's meals.

Since I didn't want to create an awkward scene, I just went along with it. This does annoy me, but I can't figure out a graceful way to handle this when the situation arises in the future. (I'm generally the only non-drinker in the group.)

Any thoughts? I'm leaning toward just swallowing my annoyance, but maybe there is a practical and polite solution I haven't considered.

magicrat
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by magicrat » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:22 pm

Venmo. Once person puts the bill on their credit card. Everyone else Venmos that person for what they ate + their share of the birthday girl's meal.

barnaclebob
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:23 pm

Just swallow it unless the difference is large. But most restaurants can easily split bills and also split the birthday girls lunch as well. Or bring cash including the tip and enough to cover the birthday girl then throw that on the table, let the others split the rest.
Last edited by barnaclebob on Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

KlangFool
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by KlangFool » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:23 pm

OP,

I am a non-drinker. And, it is a sin in my religion to pay for alcohol. So, could we split the alcohol out of the bill?

KlangFool

KlangFool
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by KlangFool » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:25 pm

magicrat wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:22 pm
Venmo. Once person puts the bill on their credit card. Everyone else Venmos that person for what they ate + their share of the birthday girl's meal.
Then, you have one person Venmo less money to the person that pays the bill on his/her credit card.

KlangFool

Goal33
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by Goal33 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:25 pm

No great way to handle this.

1) Sometimes you will get screwed.
2) Maybe get a bigger meal that costs more, and take some to go.
3) In some cases, you can ask for your own check upfront.
4) In other cases you can bring cash and just put down what yours will cost + tax + tip and throw it in and let the rest deal with sorting out the remaining.

I am earning enough that getting screwed on lunch here and there isn't a big deal, so I usually go for #1 or #4.
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magicrat
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by magicrat » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:26 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:25 pm
magicrat wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:22 pm
Venmo. Once person puts the bill on their credit card. Everyone else Venmos that person for what they ate + their share of the birthday girl's meal.
Then, you have one person Venmo less money to the person that pays the bill on his/her credit card.

KlangFool
What?

Goal33
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by Goal33 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:27 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:23 pm
OP,

I am a non-drinker. And, it is a sin in my religion to pay for alcohol. So, could we split the alcohol out of the bill?

KlangFool
Is it only a sin to pay for it, or also to drink it? :wink:
A man with one watch always knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never sure.

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whodidntante
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by whodidntante » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:30 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:23 pm
OP,

I am a non-drinker. And, it is a sin in my religion to pay for alcohol. So, could we split the alcohol out of the bill?

KlangFool
For lunch? Well, you can't drink all day unless you start early.

Tortoisesque
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by Tortoisesque » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:31 pm

In that situation, I would view the birthday meal as sort of one big “gift” for your friend, and you all chipped in for the gift equally.

Think of it like this: What if you had thrown a catered party for your friend with food and alcohol provided? You probably would have split the bill for the party equally, even though you don’t drink, right? This seems similar to that.

I agree it’s not totally fair. Alternatively, next time you could speak up first to suggest that one person pay the bill and the others can pay that person for what they ordered (plus chip in for the birthday girl) using physical cash or a payment app like Venmo, Apple Cash, etc.

KlangFool
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by KlangFool » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:32 pm

Goal33 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:27 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:23 pm
OP,

I am a non-drinker. And, it is a sin in my religion to pay for alcohol. So, could we split the alcohol out of the bill?

KlangFool
Is it only a sin to pay for it, or also to drink it? :wink:
Both. Just to cover all bases.:-)

KlangFool

KlangFool
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by KlangFool » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:33 pm

magicrat wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:26 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:25 pm
magicrat wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:22 pm
Venmo. Once person puts the bill on their credit card. Everyone else Venmos that person for what they ate + their share of the birthday girl's meal.
Then, you have one person Venmo less money to the person that pays the bill on his/her credit card.

KlangFool
What?
Do you mean you never come across folks like that?

KlangFool

RollTide31457
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by RollTide31457 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:34 pm

Loudly and clearly state that checks will be separate when ordering. Remind the server a few times as well.

magicrat
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by magicrat » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:34 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:33 pm
magicrat wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:26 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:25 pm
magicrat wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:22 pm
Venmo. Once person puts the bill on their credit card. Everyone else Venmos that person for what they ate + their share of the birthday girl's meal.
Then, you have one person Venmo less money to the person that pays the bill on his/her credit card.

KlangFool
What?
Do you mean you never come across folks like that?

KlangFool
I don't follow your statement. If you're asking about people shorting the amount owed, no I don't. If someone is short it would be obvious and I'd tell them to pay up.

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friar1610
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by friar1610 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:35 pm

I gave up alcohol a number of years ago and one of the side effects was that I developed more of a sweet tooth than I'd previously had. Although it doesn't bother me to "suck it up" on splitting the bill, I occasionally have dessert and coffee when others don't and figure that evens things up a bit.
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rich126
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by rich126 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:35 pm

People have pretty strong opinions on this topic.

1. Some are very strongly on the split evenly amongst everyone.
2. Some strongly prefer the pay for what you bought.

The people in group one I think are the ones that spend the most and don't care that others subsidizing their tab. Being the engineer type I strongly prefer #2 since I think that is the fairest way (and math is easy for me). Just don't be one of those people who has to pull out a phone/calculator to get the tip down to the penny.

Years ago (decades) a bunch of us would go out for lunch and in those days everyone paid cash. Well most of us were pretty generous and sales tax was 5% so most simply put in 20% over their tab to cover tax and tip. And many rounded upward. Yet we still were short. Eventually we stopped inviting a few people and then we were always on the high side on the tip. I found it amazing that some people were so cheap. We were all making a solid salary.

Now with most using credit cards it does make things harder. If it isn't too busy a server can split it based on what you ordered but if it is a large table (anything more than 4) and especially if it is busy, they dread wasting time to do that.

And work group lunches (such as going away ones) are the worst since it often involves a large amount of people, some of whom are the stiff the server kind. One reason I avoid most work group activities that are off the clock. Not worth the hassles. In my younger days I would organize a lot of events and anyone who has done that realize the difficulties of getting a yes or no from some people and getting others to pay timely.

livesoft
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by livesoft » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:40 pm

Take me to lunch and I will say, "Put all the alcohol on a separate bill and I will pay for it." Simple. Done.

I've been to recent lunches where someone tried to pick up the entire tab, but I wouldn't let him. It was trivial to tell the waitstaff, "Put $20 on this credit card and let him pay for the rest. Oh, is the tip included since we are 8 people? No? OK, I'll make sure to add a tip to my bill when it comes. Thanks!"

I don't think it would be inappropriate to say, "I didn't drink alcohol, sorry I need to pay less, so just make my share $10 less than everybody else's, want me to do the rest of the math?"

I've been to lunches where separate checks are decided.

The waitstaff have seen it all, so whatever the customers want to do, they can handle it. I'll disagree that the waitstaff is put off by these things, but if they are, then one should not care.
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KlangFool
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by KlangFool » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:48 pm

magicrat wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:34 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:33 pm
magicrat wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:26 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:25 pm
magicrat wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:22 pm
Venmo. Once person puts the bill on their credit card. Everyone else Venmos that person for what they ate + their share of the birthday girl's meal.
Then, you have one person Venmo less money to the person that pays the bill on his/her credit card.

KlangFool
What?
Do you mean you never come across folks like that?

KlangFool
I don't follow your statement. If you're asking about people shorting the amount owed, no I don't. If someone is short it would be obvious and I'd tell them to pay up.
What if

A) They ignore you.

B) Claimed that you earned more and they are entitled to pay less?

KlangFool

magicrat
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by magicrat » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:49 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:48 pm
magicrat wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:34 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:33 pm
magicrat wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:26 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:25 pm


Then, you have one person Venmo less money to the person that pays the bill on his/her credit card.

KlangFool
What?
Do you mean you never come across folks like that?

KlangFool
I don't follow your statement. If you're asking about people shorting the amount owed, no I don't. If someone is short it would be obvious and I'd tell them to pay up.
What if

A) They ignore you.

B) Claimed that you earned more and they are entitled to pay less?

KlangFool
Then I probably wouldn't be having a meal with them in the first place.

renue74
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by renue74 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:49 pm

I think the Bogleheads tend to skew to a little oder demographic.

I have millennial employees and they use Venmo or Zelle for this type of purpose. Roommates pay rent/utilities like this. They pay for their share of dining and bar tabs. The even make friendly bets/wagers on sports and pay each other via venmo.

It works wonderfully....went everybody has buy in, which would be a problem with a larger group of folks.

mmmodem
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by mmmodem » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:52 pm

I also do not drink and like you often get shafted when bills are split. I usually "swallow my annoyance" as I don't see a graceful way out of it. When I'm in a birthday situation as you state, I just order a larger portion or dessert to make up for it.

If I were wait staff and I used to be, I would not be annoyed with separate checks because it's actually less work to wait on a table of 4 than to wait on 4 separate tables of 1. As the owner, 1 table of 4 would take up less space than 4 tables of 1 allowing for more customers to be served. Just make sure you let them know ahead of time.

KlangFool
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by KlangFool » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:53 pm

magicrat wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:49 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:48 pm
magicrat wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:34 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:33 pm
magicrat wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:26 pm


What?
Do you mean you never come across folks like that?

KlangFool
I don't follow your statement. If you're asking about people shorting the amount owed, no I don't. If someone is short it would be obvious and I'd tell them to pay up.
What if

A) They ignore you.

B) Claimed that you earned more and they are entitled to pay less?

KlangFool
Then I probably wouldn't be having a meal with them in the first place.
magicrat,

Have you ever come across folks that show up in a group meal uninvited? I did. We had a group meal. We did not invite this particular person. Unfortunately, this person happened to be at the same place where we were having lunch. He invited himself into the group.

KlangFool

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TxAg
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by TxAg » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:55 pm

I just suck it up and figure it's the price of doing business

$10-20 one way or the other isn't worth me worrying about. It generally evens out if you do this semi frequently.

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Kenkat
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by Kenkat » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:56 pm

The best part about using Venmo or Zelle is when someone says “what is that?” you can scoff, say O M G, roll your eyes and declare you need to start hanging with a younger, hipper crowd.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by RickBoglehead » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:59 pm

My preference would always be to pay for myself and then a share of the birthday person. Given that it's a birthday, splitting seems ok. Regular outings I would not want to pay more than my share.

One way to do it is to grab the bill and do the math. "Mary, your share is $18 for you, $6 for your part of Sue's gift, and then 15% tip is ___".
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by tennisplyr » Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:01 pm

Where I live, in group meals we just ask for separate checks-- singles or couples. Otherwise just ignore it.
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

mak1277
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by mak1277 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:14 pm

Just play the credit card game...everyone gives a card to the server, the server picks one, and that person pays the whole bill.

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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by cherijoh » Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:16 pm

Kennedy wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:20 pm
I recently met a group of five women for lunch to celebrate a birthday for one of the ladies. Only the birthday girl is a good friend of mine. The others are more casual friends.

When it was time to pay, one lady told the server to split the bill evenly between four of us, so we could treat the one celebrating her birthday. Since I did not order any alcohol and the others did, I was basically (heavily) subsidizing everyone else's meals.

Since I didn't want to create an awkward scene, I just went along with it. This does annoy me, but I can't figure out a graceful way to handle this when the situation arises in the future. (I'm generally the only non-drinker in the group.)

Any thoughts? I'm leaning toward just swallowing my annoyance, but maybe there is a practical and polite solution I haven't considered.
I think I would have asked for separate checks and asked that the birthday girl's bill go on my check. Then the others could have chipped in on her bill if they liked. This could end up costing you more than splitting the check, but (a) you don't end up looking like a cheapskate and (b) you aren't subsidizing your acquaintances' bar bills. This is how we have done it in my crowd and most people end up chipping in on the birthday girl's meal.

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CAsage
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by CAsage » Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:24 pm

Group lunches with acquaintances - this always comes up, though not discussed. There's one who will order an appetizer, someone will frugally get a lunch special, people who drink water and not soda or tea or alcohol. If you have a group where the alcohol bill starts to edge up to the food bill, then I would ask for separate checks, or simply state politely you would like to chip in just for food. If everyone is ordering one beverage, then I would just suck it up as the randomness of groups. It's just not worth any fuss unless it's a regular event or you are really short on cash. With my social group, we meet once a month or so, and just split flat. Easier to get on with life.
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Reamus294
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by Reamus294 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:31 pm

That's too bad no one noticed you weren't drinking and offered a different solution. It could have easily doubled your bill. I go into joint meals expecting things like this (especially with birthday/celebration meals) and I'd order a fancy non-alcoholic drink, sparkling water, or a latte to go to help make up the difference.

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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by socaldude » Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:32 pm

Been there done that. I just ask for a seperate check. Otherwise, you always get screwed... badly. Don't bother with all these formulas and suggestions, you'll have a migraine just thinking about it. You can get used to asking (be polite) for a seperate check, I did.

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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by fposte » Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:35 pm

Kennedy wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:20 pm
I recently met a group of five women for lunch to celebrate a birthday for one of the ladies. Only the birthday girl is a good friend of mine. The others are more casual friends.

When it was time to pay, one lady told the server to split the bill evenly between four of us, so we could treat the one celebrating her birthday. Since I did not order any alcohol and the others did, I was basically (heavily) subsidizing everyone else's meals.

Since I didn't want to create an awkward scene, I just went along with it. This does annoy me, but I can't figure out a graceful way to handle this when the situation arises in the future. (I'm generally the only non-drinker in the group.)

Any thoughts? I'm leaning toward just swallowing my annoyance, but maybe there is a practical and polite solution I haven't considered.
Speak up nominally on behalf of other people who ordered light ("Let's look at the check and have people pay for their own instead, so it's fairer for everybody"), even if you know sometimes that those other people are only you.

IMHO your fellow diner is out of line to tell the server that in the first place. She can pay for the whole check or she can let people pay according to what they owe, but she doesn't get to make determinations about what others spend in between.

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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by Coburn » Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:37 pm

rich126 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:35 pm
People have pretty strong opinions on this topic.

1. Some are very strongly on the split evenly amongst everyone.
2. Some strongly prefer the pay for what you bought.

The people in group one I think are the ones that spend the most and don't care that others subsidizing their tab. Being the engineer type I strongly prefer #2 since I think that is the fairest way (and math is easy for me). Just don't be one of those people who has to pull out a phone/calculator to get the tip down to the penny.
Therein lies the rub. Some of the party would do (1) and others like you, would rather do (2).

You can't please everyone...so everyone should agree beforehand and then abide by it.

Past 3 people in the party, I'd be surprised if (2) gets chosen.

I don't drink, but not opposed to (1) even though approach 2 is the cheaper for me.

It's only money. :happy

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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by mlipps » Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:39 pm

I usually handle this by asking to bow out of the tip. I'll say something like "Do you guys mind getting the tip since I didn't have anything to drink today?". Then I'll tip 0 and tell people how much to add to their tips to cover me. For example, if I would have otherwise tipped $12 in this situation, I'll ask everyone else to tip an extra $3. Once I explain it, people generally appreciate this simple way of evening things out for the non-drinkers, and it's close enough to let everyone sleep well at night.

Most people aren't trying to rip you off, it's just not worth the hassle to them to do enough math to make things fair.

Starfish
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by Starfish » Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:46 pm

It's easy to solve for me: I don't go to lunch with people who don't drink, you can't trust them.
On a more serious note, how hard is to say: but I did not drink?
We do many sometimes credit card roulette, the "winner" pays for all.

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Kennedy
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by Kennedy » Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:00 pm

mlipps wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:39 pm
I usually handle this by asking to bow out of the tip. I'll say something like "Do you guys mind getting the tip since I didn't have anything to drink today?". Then I'll tip 0 and tell people how much to add to their tips to cover me. For example, if I would have otherwise tipped $12 in this situation, I'll ask everyone else to tip an extra $3. Once I explain it, people generally appreciate this simple way of evening things out for the non-drinkers, and it's close enough to let everyone sleep well at night.

Most people aren't trying to rip you off, it's just not worth the hassle to them to do enough math to make things fair.
Maybe, but it's just as easy to ask the server to bring each person their own individual bill plus add a fourth (or whatever amount) of the birthday girl's check to each. Seems so much fairer.

Jags4186
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by Jags4186 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:03 pm

For a rare occurrence like this with people you might not see again you just suck it up and b*tch and moan on the way home.

If it becomes a regular thing, start bringing cash (20s and 5s and 1s) and when the bill comes just leave enough to cover what you ate plus tax and tip. I usually keep a running tab in my head of what I order and leave 25% more to cover tax and tip. Set expectations early so people know you’re “cheap” and then it won’t be an issue going forward.

The other approach is to grab the bill first and be the one to divvy it up. Then if someone wants to “check the math” you can politely inform them how much of the tab was the booze they consumed.

JimMolony
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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by JimMolony » Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:07 pm

If you know in advance that others are going to order alcohol, order a more expensive meal or larger size and take some home if it bothers you that much :D . It'll even out. Otherwise just suck it up.

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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by MotoTrojan » Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:27 pm

Bringing cash is an option. Another is suggesting that the drinkers cover the tip. All require you to speak up though. The cash is likely easier since there is a lead in (“oh I had the $25 entree and 1/4th of the $20 app, here is $30 plus tax and tip”).

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Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by new2bogle » Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:45 pm

friar1610 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:35 pm
I gave up alcohol a number of years ago and one of the side effects was that I developed more of a sweet tooth than I'd previously had. Although it doesn't bother me to "suck it up" on splitting the bill, I occasionally have dessert and coffee when others don't and figure that evens things up a bit.
We don't buy alcohol (in general) at restaurants due to steep costs. I would say in the past 3 years, every restaurant I've been to will split the bill with the exact items ordered per person/couple. We do go out regularly with 3-4 couples and never has it been an issue.

mlipps
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Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:35 am

Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by mlipps » Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:53 pm

Kennedy wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:00 pm
mlipps wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:39 pm
I usually handle this by asking to bow out of the tip. I'll say something like "Do you guys mind getting the tip since I didn't have anything to drink today?". Then I'll tip 0 and tell people how much to add to their tips to cover me. For example, if I would have otherwise tipped $12 in this situation, I'll ask everyone else to tip an extra $3. Once I explain it, people generally appreciate this simple way of evening things out for the non-drinkers, and it's close enough to let everyone sleep well at night.

Most people aren't trying to rip you off, it's just not worth the hassle to them to do enough math to make things fair.
Maybe, but it's just as easy to ask the server to bring each person their own individual bill plus add a fourth (or whatever amount) of the birthday girl's check to each. Seems so much fairer.
You asked for suggestions. If that's the ideal solution to you why didn't you do it when faced with this situation??

livesoft
Posts: 68616
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by livesoft » Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:56 pm

There are some people that are pushovers. There are some people that are bold leaders. If you want something, then ask for it or insist on it. Otherwise, a bold leader is going to either run right over you or be helpful. If they are not helpful, then step in and be helpful yourself.

You may also find that there are others at a group lunch that are also silently annoyed by the way the bill is paid and no one wants to depose the bold leader that is running right over everyone else.
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muffins14
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:14 am

Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by muffins14 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:58 pm

I feel like you need to work on the confidence to politely ask to pay less than the others. Simply saying "Hey guys/gals, would you mind if I paid $X less? I'm not drinking anything today".

Either a) they will think you are slightly cheap, but, who cares? Everyone knows it's annoying to continually subsidize others or b) they won't care

I feel like being direct about your preferences is the best option

Whatyear?
Posts: 172
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:05 pm
Location: Massachusetts

Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by Whatyear? » Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:59 pm

I would just agree to pay an equal share. Calling out that you should pay less for whatever reason could be embarrassing/awkward for the guest of honor, who is paying nothing.

megabad
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Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:00 pm

Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by megabad » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:03 pm

cherijoh wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:16 pm
I think I would have asked for separate checks and asked that the birthday girl's bill go on my check. Then the others could have chipped in on her bill if they liked.
+1 This is what I do. I pre-emptively ask for separate checks before anyone else can ask to split things and then put the birthday person's on mine and people can chip in. I don't care if people chip in or not really because I intend to gift the birthday person. For me it isn't about the money, it is the principle of getting slighted. I don't want to subsidize everybody's lunch/dinner/etc, just the birthday persons so I probably pay more to ensure that is the case. Some people get upset with this but I just say "you can get the next one". I don't use Venmo but I guess if all of your friends happen to use this same app then this could work. In my experience, it can add confusion if you have a diverse crowd though. Cash is easiest but no one carries it anymore.

MichCPA
Posts: 829
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:06 pm

Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by MichCPA » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:07 pm

mak1277 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:14 pm
Just play the credit card game...everyone gives a card to the server, the server picks one, and that person pays the whole bill.
Which works well if everyone is doing okay financially and the group is less than 6 people.

TSR
Posts: 822
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:08 am

Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by TSR » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:09 pm

fposte wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:35 pm
IMHO your fellow diner is out of line to tell the server that in the first place. She can pay for the whole check or she can let people pay according to what they owe, but she doesn't get to make determinations about what others spend in between.
I agree with you that this sort of unilateral move was done poorly here because it didn't account for the alcohol. But I will stand up for the person at the table who cuts through the noise and just says "this is how we're doing it," because otherwise you end up having a lot of awkward money talk during someone's birthday and the person being celebrated feels bad. What the person saying that should have done is then said, "We can pitch in $20 for [non-drinker] to even things out."

MichCPA
Posts: 829
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:06 pm

Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by MichCPA » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:11 pm

new2bogle wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:45 pm
friar1610 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:35 pm
I gave up alcohol a number of years ago and one of the side effects was that I developed more of a sweet tooth than I'd previously had. Although it doesn't bother me to "suck it up" on splitting the bill, I occasionally have dessert and coffee when others don't and figure that evens things up a bit.
We don't buy alcohol (in general) at restaurants due to steep costs. I would say in the past 3 years, every restaurant I've been to will split the bill with the exact items ordered per person/couple. We do go out regularly with 3-4 couples and never has it been an issue.
IMO, if its three or four couples, its not unreasonable to ask for separate checks. What always bothered me is that you sometimes see work groups or college friends (I live in a college town) and the server has 10-12 bills

mak1277
Posts: 1178
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:26 pm

Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by mak1277 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:11 pm

MichCPA wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:07 pm
mak1277 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:14 pm
Just play the credit card game...everyone gives a card to the server, the server picks one, and that person pays the whole bill.
Which works well if everyone is doing okay financially and the group is less than 6 people.
Meh. I learned this game with a group of guys back when none of us were doing well financially, all just starting our careers. It was genuinely painful to lose and genuinely exciting to win (which, in retrospect, was pretty much the reason we played).

More than 6 people, just have the server pick two cards and each pays half.

cherijoh
Posts: 6357
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:49 pm
Location: Charlotte NC

Re: How to handle "split-the-bill" group lunches?

Post by cherijoh » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:16 pm

magicrat wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:34 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:33 pm
magicrat wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:26 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:25 pm
magicrat wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:22 pm
Venmo. Once person puts the bill on their credit card. Everyone else Venmos that person for what they ate + their share of the birthday girl's meal.
Then, you have one person Venmo less money to the person that pays the bill on his/her credit card.

KlangFool
What?
Do you mean you never come across folks like that?

KlangFool
I don't follow your statement. If you're asking about people shorting the amount owed, no I don't. If someone is short it would be obvious and I'd tell them to pay up.
Usually they overlook the tax and or add on a measly amount of tip.

Plus if they are venmoing it, do you look over their shoulder as they send it to you? Otherwise you may have to follow up later, which could get awkward.

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