Dining-Out Dilemmas & How To Solve Them

The Modern Etiquette For Dining Out With Friends & Splitting The Check

Dining-Out Dilemmas & How To Solve Them
Photo by Shelby Ross

We’ve all been there. You go out for dinner (or lunch – or brunch!) with a group of friends and at the end of your meal, no one knows how to handle the check. Whether you ordered a salad and drank water or splurged on an expensive entrée with wine, friends are wary of how to approach the subject of finances. Budget is often a concern, particularly for those just starting out in their careers, and sometimes, some friends may be more financially comfortable than others. 

So what is the rule for splitting the check?

The simplest answer is that there are no rules. Gone are the days when men are expected to pick up the bill as are the expectation that regardless of what you ordered, everyone must split the cost evenly.

In the 21st century, while the cost of dining-out may be high, your stress over the bill doesn’t have to be! For modern meal goers, there are a few solutions to this tricky situation.

If it’s a group of 6 or less, ask your waiter or waitress before you order if it is possible to have separate checks. Depending on the policy of the restaurant, this can save you the hassle of discussing the cost at all at the end of your meal.

If you’re a larger group or the restaurant does not allow separate checks, it is completely acceptable for everyone to offer to pay for their own meal and their portion of the tip. For example, if you order an $18 plate of pasta and have a $9 glass of wine, with tax and tip, your meal comes to around $35. 

In this scenario, people should be paying in cash. Alternatively, if one or two people offer to pay for it on their credit cards, the other individuals would in turn pay those people in cash or through apps like Venmo. 

-Aliana Heffernan

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