Separate Checks When Dining w/ Friends

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Ms. I, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jun 17, 2012

    When you go out to eat w/ friends, do you tell the waiter you want separate checks OR do you take turns paying the whole bill?

    I personally don't eat out that often w/ people to take turns footing the whole amt nor am I that close with them to pay them back or have them pay me back. I always remember up front to want to do separate checks, but at times when dining w/ new people, I feel funny suggesting it because I don't want to appear as if I'm that concerned w/ money, but then when the bill comes, we're trying to calculate who pays what along w/ the tax & tip. Just the other day, I met my pal & a friend of hers who I never met for breakfast. I remembered to want separate checks, but didn't say anything up front. At the end, we're all trying to figure out what to pay & the restaurant couldn't put a certain amt on 3 different credit cards, only 2, so someone had to pay cash. It was just a big hassle in my opinion.

    From now on, I'm not going to feel strange about suggesting separate checks up front, I don't care who I'm dining with. It's just MUCH easier at the end! :)
     
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  3. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Some places around here don't do separate checks. We usually just all use cards and write the name of the person and how much goes on their card on the receipt. I've never been comfortable with the "you pay this time and I'll pay next time" situation either. I think it can create awkward situations. For example some times I order something smaller/cheaper on purpose for myself to save money, and I wouldn't want to be picking up the tab for whatever the other person/group ate. On the other hand, if I wanted something special that costs more, I'd feel guilty if someone else was picking up the tab. All of the people I dine out with around here are newer teachers as well in an expensive area...we're all on pretty tight budgets and need to just keep track of our own money. I think it's just way easier to pay for your own!

    ETA: We do happy hour once a week, but I don't drink (alcohol) at happy hour, so my bill is significantly cheaper than everyone else's. I would not be happy with just splitting it down the middle in that scenario either!
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I go out to lunch with colleagues about once a week. We mostly divide the bill evenly unless someone orders something SIGNIFICANTLY more or less than the rest....often someone will throw in an extra buck or two if theres was just a bit more...it's just not worth quibbling over pennies. It's not like one person is eating a lobster dinner and the other a small salad...and we always pay cash.
     
  5. msaly

    msaly Comrade

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    I have a friend that I go out to eat with quite often. We normally ask for separate checks after we finish eating/before the bill comes. Occasionally one of us will pay the whole bill, and then the other will pay next time (we have never had a problem with this, but we also don't go to super expensive restaurants). We have split the bill on 2 different cards, or one of us pays cash, maybe once or twice, but I agree its easier to get separate checks!
     
  6. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Jun 17, 2012

    I always do separate checks. A friend of mine does the take turns things, and I always refuse (we don't have common friends, so it is just us).
    I don't drink and I am a super picky eater. I typically play it safe and order chicken strips or a hamburger if I am somewhere new. So my meal is usually pretty inexpensive compared to some.
     
  7. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    We always ask for seperate checks. It's never been an issue :)
     
  8. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    I think it's different in a situation like this where it's a pretty regular thing and can even itself out over time. I usually do separate checks, but if we can't or we forget, we usually try to pay cash and everyone covers their own and we make sure we have enough for tax and tip. In those cases the waiter probably gets a larger tip because everyone wants to make sure it's covered!
     
  9. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Jun 17, 2012

    We always do separate checks.

    However, my BFF and I used to go out every weekend to dinner and a movie. Sometimes one would get the bill and the other would get the movie or vice-versa. Sometimes one of us would pick up the appetizer and the other would get dessert or candy at the movies. We did that every single weekend for around 10 years, so we had our system worked out perfectly.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    We almost always ask for separate checks. In the city where I live, which is very touristy, separate checks are usually no problem. Most servers would rather do separate checks from the get-go than try to put this amount on this card and that amount on that card, etc.

    I will sometimes pay for one particular friend who lives on a very strict budget and doesn't always have money right then and there. She always pays me back later or buys lunch the next time we go out. I don't really keep track, probably because it feels like it all evens out eventually. If I always bought and she never paid me back, then I might start to mind. Until then, though, it's no big deal.
     
  11. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    I always opt for separate checks, and so does everyone else. But if I'm with my best friend, we'll usually take turns paying the whole bill.
     
  12. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I love restaurants that do a separate total for each person. I think Applebee's will do that. So easy.

    If a group of friends goes out to a bar, we all throw out a certain amount...like $20...then do rounds until that much is gone. It lasts a long time, and unless someone is drinking champagne or something, it's fair. My husband and I find we spend a lot less this way.
     
  13. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    Most places will ask if there are four or more of us if we want separate checks. When it's me and my BFFs we either look over the check and decide how much to pay or someone offers to get it "this time". We don't take turns because there's a difference between drinks and an appetizer and a seafood dinner. Lol I've never had it be an issue or difficult to figure out.
     
  14. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Usually, they will bring out one check.

    We just figure out how much we each owe, including tax. Then we'll write the last four digits of the credit card with the amount next to it on the bill.

    Easy, peasy.
     
  15. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    We don't go out to eat often, but when we do it's usually on two checks. (And I just realized that sounds like the Pinterest pins with that one older gentleman. Anyone? :))
     
  16. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    We (teachers) meet for happy hour every Thursday at Applebee's. Seperate checks, a special place to sit, and the same waitress. We stay for along time and the waitress makes a ton of money in tips. Some drink some don't. It's worked out well.
     
  17. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    That sounds so fun! You must have a great staff- I am hoping my new staff is social :).
     
  18. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    I hope you do too:haha:
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 18, 2012

    We just split the check. It has never occurred to me to ask for separate checks.

    And we always bring cash.
     
  20. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    We always get separate checks. Like MsMullen was saying, it's standard around here for restaurants to assume separate checks will be desired unless you're obviously with a family.
     
  21. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jun 18, 2012

    This.
     
  22. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    This is true here as well. Waiters typically ask, looking at the two sides of the table or booth, "Separate checks?"
     
  23. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Most places here will bring separate checks at the end even if you don't ask for it upfront. So we usually do that, especially if I am out with BF and friends because we pay as a couple.

    If everyone orders something similar in price, splitting it down the middle is not a problem. And sometimes, like at the end of the school year, if I know I will be going to eat with someone more than once, I will just offer to get it if the other person wants to get it the next time, but I only do this if I know there will be another time in the near future.
     
  24. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I thought that before I read the second sentence. lol. I get it. (It's originally from a Dos Equis beer commercial, by the way.)
     
  25. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Haha...I wondered where that guy came from!
     
  26. MsMar

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    We usually split the check even though that can mean one person pays more than she ordered. But to me it's about going out and being social, and if that means paying for part of my friends' meals, so be it. Some days I order on the high end, most days I'm the lower end as I often don't get a drink and the vegetarian meal I choose tends to cost less than other people's food. But I like going out and am not going to stress about over paying $5-$10 when I do. Though if someone suggests separate checks we definitely do that. Not all places are accommodating for that though.
     
  27. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I've never been to a restaurant in my life that doesn't do separate checks upon request.

    Sometimes I have cash in my wallet, sometimes not & even if I do, I just normally pay w/ my card at restaurants...even though I know they say it's not a good idea since employees can do something fraudulent when they walk away when the card's no longer in your sight.

    To make it even easier on the waiter/waitress, I like mentioning separate checks when giving our order, so there's confusion about who ordered what.
     
  28. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    We do separate checks most of the time. It's never been a problem.
     
  29. sumnerfan

    sumnerfan Comrade

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    In touristy places they often don't separate checks. When we went to Ocean City, NJ last year they wouldn't do it for us.
     
  30. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    That's interesting. I've never heard of not separating checks. Nice to know. I've always had the server ask before taking orders. Large groups have gratutiy added in, and then we always add more to our own ticket. So the server makes a good deal of money.

    I've never had it happen, but if I went with a group and we had someone not tip I would cover that....and probably decline to dine with the offender again.
     
  31. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    If it is a group of us going out, like after work, we always do separate checks. If it is just me and a friend sometimes we trade off buying for one another.
     
  32. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Tipping is a topic all on its own. Probably a different thread needed for that, but I know many people have their own philosophies on tipping. Personally, I think it needs to be earned not guaranteed.
     
  33. bison

    bison Habitué

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    I go out to eat often and with lots of different people, so it varies. Sometimes separate checks if it's a very large group and we remember to ask BEFORE dinner. It's much more courteous to the server that way, otherwise they have to go through and remember who ordered what and enter it all over again. If you go to a place that says they won't separate the checks, it might just be because you're asking after you've already ordered everything. The majority of the time we just go through and write down the card name and how much to put on the card on the back of the receipt. I prefer to pay with a card so I can get reward points and keep track of my spending online.

    The BF and I usually tend to trade off, although honestly he pays more often than I do because he has more disposable income. Sometimes we'll just split the bill in half. It doesn't need to be totally even.

    Luckily, my friends are honest and the bill never comes up short. I hate going out to eat with bad/stingy tippers though! It's a big pet peeve and I always make up what they skimped on and end up paying more, especially since I've rarely had bad service. There are a couple people that I absolutely adore being around but hate going to dinner with for this reason!
     
  34. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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  35. AZMrs.S

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    That was great silver! :lol:
     
  36. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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  37. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    When I was at a Model UN conference in college we went out to a ridiculously overpriced restaurant (11 of us total) and the story is too long and funny to describe fully here but the meal ended with us squatting at the tables for a half hour after we finished eating while my professor was yelling What Did You Eat?!!! at one student and Why are You Paying for Him?!!!! at another over and over again. It was easily the most awkward meal ever.

    Learn from our group, always get separate checks.
     
  38. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Maybe like a recent wedding thread, it's geographical. We RARELY get separate checks, most carry cash, and we generally order equitably...
     
  39. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    I agree czacza. If it's one friend or ten, we divide the check equitably. If someone orders a drink or beer they throw in a few extra dollars. As far as tipping goes we usually figure 20 to 25% and divide it by the number of people eating. If everyone is having a great time quibbling over the check can certainly put a damper on the outing.
     
  40. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I wonder if it's also generational. None of my friends ever carries cash, including me. It sort of stinks on days when I'm at school and I really need a Diet Coke but only have my debit cart. Boo!
     
  41. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Quite possibly. I very rarely have over a couple dollars on me. I do, though, keep probably five dollars worth of quarters in my desk for kids and such.

    As far as the check, it really is assumed to be on two checks and that's everywhere we eat. And splitting evenly wouldn't quite work because I eat very little at most places...maybe fries and water. We don't drink, but no one else does with us either. It's never once been any problem at all...no awkwardness, bickering, or anything remotely close to it. It just makes a lot of sense to the waiters and to us to pay for what you eat. :)
     

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