Friday, November 13, 2009

Check, Please!

How many of you have friends? How many go out to eat with those friends on occasion? How many of you still cringe when the bill comes and it’s time to split the bill 12 ways? I have no idea why it becomes so hard to do simple math when friends and food are involved. But it sometimes is. And depending on who your friends are, that sometimes ends up being most of the time.

I remember in college I had friends I had to virtually stop going out to eat with because of their inability to remember to include tax and tip more than a quarter. And then they still had the nerve to complain…loudly. It would be about anything and everything…they’re ice water wasn’t re-filled quickly enough, the seemed a little more medium than medium well, the appetizers took too long to reach the table…but honestly I think it would all be about building excuses not to tip. This is a former server’s worst nightmare.

I am a former server. I love a good meal with friends but it still makes me cringe when the bill is set on the table and people start forgetting they ordered a coke. I get really nervous and I instantly want to be the ringleader at the table and tell people how much they should pay. But that’s not always welcomed. Luckily at this age I have friends who make the process practically painless. Most of the time. But in the rare case you aren’t so lucky, here are a few guidelines you might be interested in.

*Whenever possible, split the bill evenly within your party. If someone had a side salad and water and someone else ordered lobster and a nice chardonnay, this may not be the best option. But if all your meals were in the same ballpark, I think this is the best option. So you might pay an extra couple dollars this time. The next time you’ll pay a couple less. It’s one of those things that end up all working out over time.

*Try to have everyone pay with cards or everyone pay with cash. Less headache.

*Make yourself the ringleader and be in charge of collecting from everyone. YOU tell THEM what they owe. (Good for math geeks)

*Go out with someone who thinks they’re a big time baller and likes to pick up the tab for everyone. Score!

*Stay home.

If you’ve never experienced these issues with your friends when you go out to eat, chances are you’re the cheapskate! If anyone has any tips to add, please feel free.


AmandaEbokosia.COM said...

We all usually just split it even and pay the tip. I can imagine the headaches involved with 12* people, who are not so willing to do their part.

Diandra Ann said...

I think that this is one of the simplest ways that we can show love to people. I know that I almost always tip at least 20%. It usually only costs me a couple extra bucks, but it can make a big difference to someone else. And if there is a pen, I write on the receipt that we had good service. I never worked in the food industry, but someone told me once that the managers see the receipts. If I have great service, I always ask for the manager before I leave and tell them... lots of times this is not only great for the server, but it makes the manager very happy to hear something other than a complaint! Just in those little things people see big love :)

Brianna said...

@amanda...yes, this is the best way as long as you are with people who see the ease of that.

@diandra...that's a great idea. I knew you were an extra nice person. :)

AndrewMSV said...

At a conference in New Orleans, my friend and I kept getting shafted during meals. To the tune of TWICE the price of what I owed at some meals. The other folks would just drop their $20 bill and up and leave, sticking my friend and me with the check.
At one group dinner, one of the hosts of the conference dropped in on our table and "only" ordered soup (because she had already eaten dinner) and then left midway through the meal. Wha? People do that?
It got to the point where we just decided to eat at Krystal Burger the rest of the week. Pay at the counter. Pay your own meal. Whew.

i2theb said...

it is frustrating... first rule never role with cheapskate youngsters. second rule, if you dont have the tax and tip iphone app lol - i follow the move the decimal place over one place then multiply by 2 and round up to the nearest 5. its that easy. example: ur meal total is 15 so thats 1.5 x 2 = 3 round up to 5. now add to ur original 15 and ur good with a 20.

most of the time i usually throw in a few extra just to make sure. cuz the beauty of overpaying is U GET MONEY BACK!

worst comes to worse bring a ruler and crack ur friend a couple times across the wrist.

Brianna said...

@andrew...yes. when all else fails, go to chipotle! (or something similar)

@12theb...there's an app for that! ha. seriously though...when you throw in a few extra bucks, chances are it won't break the bank!

anonymousnupe said...

Whenever possible, dine at spots that will write up individual cheques for each person. Some places will accomodate this request if you let them know in advance (like when making your reservation). Often the wait staff does not mind because the tips are often larger this way, 'cause instead of trying to figure out the tip to the penny most folks at the table just round up and/or throw in an extra buck or two (ala what i2theb said above) just to make sure. When you have 10 individuals doing that, the tip kitty always comes out greater.

The real problem comes when that one immature frat brother pretends to have put in his share, but the bill is still $18.50 short...and then he later brags about "gettin' away with it."

Anonymous said...

I like this subject.
I will not tip unless the server does something that is not within their job description. If the server is a female that is warm and friendly we can step outside for a nice stroll. Perhaps we can go shopping, or do something else she has an interest in. If the server is a dude, maybe I will cover your tab at the club or give him a tip on a good job opportunity.

Some patrons visit a restaurant for reasons other than the food. The lure of an establishment full of people that are just happy is a spiritual gift one should not have to pay for. I was listening to NPR some months ago when I heard a story about a guy who started a restaurant that only accepts donations. That is a cool concept.

Investigate the people you eat with at restaurants, simply arrange an exchange of culinary experiences. Certainly a great deal will be revealed about the individual whom you are blindly trying to establish a relationship with. Sharing the culinary experience is encompassed in a movement of extension and retraction. After each encounter answer the question that God whispers in your mind. "Does this feel right"?

Warmest Regards,

Anonymous said...

You're not expected to tip at McDonalds silly!

Dust said...

My friends and I alternate when it comes to paying the bill. We tend to go to establishments that will not split the bill.

Sometimes you get stuck with the Ruth Chris bill or the N9ne bill, but my friends are my family so it's all good.

If you're in your mid 20's and later and not tipping 20-30% get your order to go. I've had some terrible people wait on me, out of respect for the profession we still tip at least 20%

If there are people in your party that are going to try and eat for free, maybe you should think twice before inviting them out.

Dust said...

oh yeah with it being friday the 13 i expected a blog about superstitions or something to that affect. You feel like adding blog 1b??

Anonymous said...

njou in america we tip for anything and everything im offended by you you live here then play bt our rules and standards in this society don't like it please find somewhere is to live---i do realize that my government at times over steps its boundries in foriegn lands but you chose to come here in life you most times have to do something for nothing Gods whisper---do the right thing bro!--JOE P VEGAS/DC