Ask B: Splitting the Check

Original image from Vogue

Dear B, 

My friends and I are quite the social bunch, and on the weekends we love to do big group dinners.  However, sometimes not everyone has wine, or a few will have pricey entrees which makes paying for our supper, quite complicated. How do you recommend we handle splitting the check in a way that’s polite and fair?

Social Butterfly 

Social Butterfly, Darling

This tale is as old as time! While large get togethers are filled with fabulous food, wine, and conversation, when the check comes around it can be a sticky situation. My advice includes two options: Option number one is to kindly ask your group if they mind having separate checks. If all are in agreement, then notify your server, at the beginning of the evening, to split the bill. In other words, each person will receive a bill for exactly what they ordered. This way, everyone can be in charge of their own check and there’s no pouting or throwing of champagne glasses! Option number two is to evenly split the check between all of the guests. If everyone has a meal that adds up to essentially the same amount, then it makes perfect sense to just toss the credit cards in and do an equal divide. Now there is a loophole: If you’ve only savored a modest cup of soup and everyone else has indulged in a five-course extravaganza of a meal, protocol is for the latter to pay for the majority of the bill. One other tidbit to note – if you’re celebrating someone special, e.g. someone’s birthday, it’s lovely to cover their portion of the bill. 

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