How to Split the Check in the Least Awkward Way Possible
Dining out at restaurants with groups is one of life's simple pleasures, but disagreeing over splitting a check can ruin an otherwise perfect meal. Should you get separate checks? How many cards are too many cards? Does technology make things easier or harder? Learn all about dining etiquette with our guide for how to split the check.
When should we tell the server?
Don't wait until the waiter places the receipt on the table to decide that you want separate checks. According to Thomas P. Farley, aka Mister Manners, the nationally renowned etiquette expert behind What Manners Most, timing is everything. "If you want your own separate check, definitely put that out up front."
DO: Make sure the server calculated correctly. Check splitting can get tricky and mistakes happen.
DON'T: Ask for separate checks on a party over 8 people unless you've already worked it out with the restaurant beforehand. Just don't.
What if they don't split checks?
Paying with multiple credit cards is pretty much the standard at restaurants, but there are still some places that won't do it. If that's the case then ask if someone would like to volunteer to put it on one card.
DO: Calculate how much you owe (plus tip!) and Venmo, Chase Quickpay, etc. the person you owe while still at the table.
DON'T: Make the person who fronted the bill have to ask you more than once for your share.
What's the minimum percentage groups should tip?
According to Mister Manners knowing how to tip at a restaurant is regionally specific. "In larger cities such as New York City, 20% has become the new norm and 15% is a little on the low side, especially for fine dining. I would not drop below 15% in any region, however."
DO: Tip based on the quality of service you received.
DON'T: Round down on the tip, especially when you're in a group.
What if someone ate/drank more than everyone else?
You can't control anyone but yourself. However, you don't want to feel like you're footing the bill for Carol's lobster platter when you just got a mere salad. In a perfect world, people will offer to pay more if their personal bill was more. However, if that's not the case, you might want to speak up or think about other ways to get together with those friends so you're not always stuck with their extravagant tab.
DO: Speak up if you think that the divvied up bill ins't fair.
DON'T: Point fingers at those who chose the more gluttonous route at the table.
This article was previously published and has been slightly modified by our editors.