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Who pays for what? by Terrice Blackwell

Who pays for what? by Terrice Blackwell

It’s “Ladies Night Out”! You and several of your friends have decided to meet for dinner. Everyone is excited, looking good and having a great time until the bill arrives. A sense of quietness comes over the table. Do we split the bill equally? Does everyone have cash? Is it fair for me to pay for her martinis when I don’t drink? Who pays for the appetizer that we all shared? Is she paying since she organized it all? How do we do this?

These thoughts are so common when it comes to dining out with friends. Proper etiquette tells us that the person inviting is the person that pays. However, we know there are situations in which this is not always the case. Here are a few tips to help you avoid these awkward moments.

1. Know before you go. Whether you’re the organizer or one of the attendees, the key is knowing what’s expected of you. There’s nothing wrong with accepting an invitation from a friend and asking who’s paying for what.

2. Make certain you take cash, in all denominations. This allows you to pay for your portion of the meal and tip without any complications or ill discussions amongst the group.

3. Expect to pay for your own alcoholic beverages. This has proven to work best. Some within your group may not drink, be social drinkers while others may be professional drinkers. It’s not fair to split the alcohol tab if everyone did not drink alcoholic beverages.

4. Upon arrival, notify the waitperson of your intentions. One check or separate checks. This makes the process much easier when the check(s) arrive.

5. Be prepared to leave a tip! The industry minimum is 10% with great service at 20%+. If your service was unsatisfactory and not warranted of a tip, notify management. Please don’t just leave without saying anything. The problem may not have been the waitperson but possibly the kitchen. This may prove to be more rewarding than paying your bill and not leaving a tip at all.

6. Be mindful of splitting the check equally. This is great if everyone has this understanding prior to ordering their meal. However, if this is decided after dinner, someone’s feelings may be bruised if they ordered a salad and someone else ordered the most expensive thing on the menu.

Several months ago, I witnessed the above situation while dining at a local restaurant. These ladies were talking, laughing loudly, ordering drinks and having a great time until the bill came. It took them approximately 20 minutes to come up with the process in which the bill would be paid. Some had cash, some with credit cards and one didn’t have enough money. The feelings and emotions went from laughter and fun to confusion and bitterness. This situation could have been avoided by using the tips above. Make certain you’re ready for your next “Ladies Night Out” or any group dining experience.

Should children have good table manners? Can table manners kill a business deal? Can the lack of manners stop a career or future opportunity? Is a first impression really important? Absolutely! Join us at The Etiquette Advantage as you, your staff and your children learn how to benefit from our etiquette programs for children, adults and business professionals.


Terrice Blackwell of The Etiquette Advantage

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