Dining Out in Large Groups - Tips on How to Not Get Screwed When the Check Comes?

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by JesseJB, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. greg_atlanta

    greg_atlanta Senior member

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    Just don't do it.

    Restaurants hate big groups unless it's a slow night and nothing else is going on (the table takes twice as long to turn over). The service will be bad unless it's a burger/pizza joint and the menu is simple. Half the people will be at least 30 minutes late.

    Just meet at a restaurant for drinks and let that be the party. If people are hungry they can order bar food or get a table.
     


  2. Johnny_5

    Johnny_5 Senior member

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    Dude. Save yourself the trouble and just bring cash. Pay what you owe and be done with it.
     


  3. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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    Often at conferences when dinner is on your own, people will suggest going to dinner together. What seems to happen invariably is that the group of people grows to a large enough number that all aspects of getting to the restuarant, being seated and served becomes a difficult and long process. I avoid these situations at all cost. Although I may be percieved as being anti-social, the hassles that come with unorganized large group gatherings are beyond what I'm willing to tolerate.
     


  4. Spatlese

    Spatlese Senior member

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    Often at conferences when dinner is on your own, people will suggest going to dinner together. What seems to happen invariably is that the group of people grows to a large enough number that all aspects of getting to the restuarant, being seated and served becomes a difficult and long process. I avoid these situations at all cost. Although I may be percieved as being anti-social, the hassles that come with unorganized large group gatherings are beyond what I'm willing to tolerate.

    I agree. In these cases though, if it's work related, aren't you expensing the meals? Actually, if I need to expense a meal, and there are no colleagues or clients involved, it's actually easier for me to be belligerent about making sure I pay only my share (I can blame the company policy on per diems)
     


  5. ghulkhan

    ghulkhan Senior member

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    If I ever go out with a large group, it is people I know. They are usually the type to just split the bill evenly. I do not like eating in large groups though.

    Usually 4-5 maximum and I consider that large. With that, it is usually some good friends, and we just share the food a lot of times. Everyone just pays the same.

    Splitting checks with large groups though is a complete pain in the ass.
     


  6. ghulkhan

    ghulkhan Senior member

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    Oh, and like someone said before. If it is a lot of people and you know you probably will not be splitting it evenly. I would just bring cash (only claim to have a enough to cover your end of the meal). Do not even bring the CC out.
     


  7. Tarmac

    Tarmac Senior member

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    only jackasses ask for separate checks. Jackasses who can't even be civil enough to do their own math, jackasses who don't even trust their "good friends" to pay for shitty calamari and $2 tips. You can still ask for separate checks if you want, but you will be a jackass. I see this a lot with newlyweds, the money-grubbing wife forces the guy to make sure not to pay more than his share because they are saving up for a condo or some shit.

    in the end, you will either pay too much, too little or just right. you aren't a jackass so you will make sure not to pay too little. If it comes down to too much or just right, either one is fine with me. If I see a reaming coming like you describe, I make sure to order my share of drinks so I don't feel shafted. Just play it by ear.
     


  8. teddieriley

    teddieriley Senior member

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    Wait, you smell that?
    having dealt with this kind of shit on countless occasions, there's no reason you can't just go to each person and personally collect if you're that worried about it. Don't bother to do this after everyone has taken it upon themselves to give their share because what's going to stop them from saying they put in $30 when they put in $20? Go to each person (or couple), ask what they ordered and do some quick dirty math and add 25-30% on top of that to cover tax and tip. When you put people on the spot like that, they are less likely to jack you.

    If you think that is too much trouble, then be ready to expect to pony up more than your share. that's the thanks you get for organizing it. otherwise get new friends who aren't so shady.
     


  9. TyCooN

    TyCooN Senior member

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    Keep it a 5 person group tops. There's too many damn integrity violators that pretend they don't have money. Pay your share, and then tip a bit higher than everyone else. This way no one can call you a cheapskate. Makes those One or Two odd ones look like AZZ.
     


  10. skiwebster

    skiwebster Senior member

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    + 1 on hating most of the large group dinners. I think its fine if at the beginning of the meal, the group establishes that the check will be split evenly. That definetly alters my ordering in my mind. If no one says that, it is reasonable to assume everyone is responsible for their fair share (which is my favorite method). What really irritates me, and what actually happened to me twice this weekend is nothing is said about splitting at the beginning of the meal, and then the check comes and somebody is like "lets split it evenly?"

    I'm all for splitting evenly if people got roughly the same thing but when the guy sitting across from me ordered an entree almost twice the price of mine and had about 6 beers to my 1 beer, I think its bs that we should split it evenly. I basically end up paying more than double what my meal should have cost.

    This whole thing is probably one of my biggest pet peeves. That is why, whenever I can, I grab the bill first, figure out my amount with tax and tip, and put the cash in. Then someone else can deal with coming up with the rest of the money and if people say "lets split it evenly," I can just say that I already put my money in.
     


  11. philosophe

    philosophe Senior member

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    I avoid the problem by avoiding large group dinners. When I was more junior at work, I'd find myself out with senior and far better-paid colleagues. I'd order what I could afford, then get stuck subsidizing their extravagant meals (especially the booze, as I am not a big drinker), only to be sorry I ever went to dinner.

    Now, I can afford it, and I don't mind chipping in extra, but large group dinners usually aren't much fun. With friends, I always split the tab.

    Finally, always pay cash. Never let anyone know you have a credit card at such events.
     


  12. grimslade

    grimslade Senior member

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    If you are afraid of getting shafted, get in the habit of handling the bill yourself and do the math correctly. It takes a bit of time and patience, but if you do it right, everyone will pay their fair (and correct) share of the bill.

    Also, always round up on the price when looking at individual items. If the gratuity is already added, take the gratuity, and divide it by the # of the people on the table (again, round up a few bucks if you have to get an even #). Add the individual items (entree + drink + dessert + tip), and there you have it.

    Or, just split the bill and make life easier on everybody.

    In my experience, I actually prefer having to do it with debit cards so that there is no issue with change.


    This is all correct, except I would emphasize the third point--just split it. Since gratuity is included, grab the bill, divide the total by 13, and ask everyone for their share. Anything else is an invitation to getting chiseled. If people insist on pulling their stuff out, make sure everyone does it and add at least 30% to the cost of their individual items. Otherwise people round down, forget about tax, don't tip, etc.
     


  13. feynmix

    feynmix Senior member

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    This is all correct, except I would emphasize the third point--just split it. Since gratuity is included, grab the bill, divide the total by 13, and ask everyone for their share. Anything else is an invitation to getting chiseled. If people insist on pulling their stuff out, make sure everyone does it and add at least 30% to the cost of their individual items. Otherwise people round down, forget about tax, don't tip, etc.

    Agreed. Assuming most of the people dining with you are reasonable, no one will vehemently object to just splitting it evenly. It only gets a bit shady when there are people who don't drink at all and have to pay for others.
     


  14. grimslade

    grimslade Senior member

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    Fair enough, but in that case, split the drinks among the drinkers--drinks can be expensive, and they're almost always accounted for on the bill separately.
     


  15. montyharding

    montyharding Senior member

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    We don't usually split. Generally speaking with the guys I go out with most, we argue over who's paying, one credit card wins and eventually the rest of us reluctantly put our wallets away. I can't ever remember splitting, bar when I was in secondary school maybe. I'd either pay, or someone else would.

    I guess it depends on your friends and your means. But that's how it works for me.
     


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