Dining in Paris, Splitting the check

Sep 4th, 2007, 11:15 AM
  #1  
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Dining in Paris, Splitting the check

This may seem like a silly question but...does anyone think it would be inappropriate when dining out in Paris to ask the waiter to split the check on three credit cards? We do this all the time in New York City and it doesn't seem to be much of a bother to the waiters. I prefer to use credit card when traveling abroad, but will be with two other couples. Anyone have any experience with this. I do know that leaving the tip in cash is preferred and that is no problem.

Thanks very much.
mikster is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 11:21 AM
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Second point first...service is usually included in the bill, so no need to add anything unless it was above and beyond.

There is another thread here today about splitting bills, have a look at that.

Are you saying that you would order a meal, and then at the end give the waiter 3 cards and ask him to slit the bill? Would it not be easier to just ask for separate bills at the start of the meal?
Michel_Paris is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 12:18 PM
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I've rarely seen anyone leave a nice restaurant without at least leaving a few coins for the waiter/waitress.

As for three credit cards, I also haven't seen people do that. When I was out with friends, if one person needed to pay with their card, we just gave them cash and they paid for the whole thing. Then we switched at the next place when someone else ran out of cash.
slangevar is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 12:26 PM
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mikster-there are a few places that can do that, one in particular I'm thinking of is Chez Leon de Bruxelles-the great mussels and frites chain that I always go to at least once while in Paris, and it's right there on the Blvd. St. Germain, at Mabillon metro stop. If you go THERE, they bring the hand-held calculator to your table, and each can pay with separate credit cards, no problem.

Other than that restaurant, the concept of splitting with 3 credit cards as we are used to doing in the US is not something that has caught on yet overseas-so unless it's a restaurant like Chez Leon, that has those hand-held calculators, then one person will have to pay on their credit card, and the rest will have to do cash. You can ask for separate checks-that is not so unusual in Paris-this is a world capital city, after all, not a provincial town-depending on the establishment, they may or may not oblige.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 12:35 PM
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We do it all the time in Paris.

And sometimes 2 or 3 cards are given to pay for the meal. It is quite common to say "take 20€ on this card," "take 25€ on this card," and "take all of the rest on this card." In fact, the waiters expect this sort of thing from most customers under the age of 35. After that, the older you get (and salaries rise), the more common it is for one person to invite all of the others.
kerouac is online now  
Sep 4th, 2007, 12:44 PM
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Girlspy, I would say that about 85% of the restaurants and cafes in Paris have the hand-held payment terminals, not just Leon.

I have been with as many as six people at restaurants in Paris with each person using his card or cash or meal vouchers. Hey, it's money - they don't care how they get it as long as they get it.
analogue is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 01:06 PM
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Hah, the meal vouchers! That always leaves the foreigners dumbfounded. << What are those??? Can you pay with that??? >>>
kerouac is online now  
Sep 4th, 2007, 01:23 PM
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L4C
 
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What ARE meal vouchers?
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Sep 4th, 2007, 01:29 PM
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We often do that when dining with friends in Paris, if we haven't asked for seperate checks.
jody is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 01:34 PM
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ira
 
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Hi M,

It would be easier to ask for separate checks at the start.

Leave a small tip in cash, but only to round up, unless you have gotten extra good service.

ira is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 02:19 PM
  #11  
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The only problem with separate checks may be if we are are sharing wine, but it is something to consider. Thank you all for your input. The last thing I want to do is be an annoying American
mikster is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 02:49 PM
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Analogue-that's an interesting factoid you offer-I guess I've been frequenting only the other 15%! Somehow, I don't think the percentage of hand-helds in Parisian restaurants is that high, however, I'm sure it's more than what I've seen-particularly at expense account establishments. But I'm thinking of the Buddha Bar, which is both an Asian fusion restaurant and bar, very famous, yet they don't use hand-helds, and some brasserie in the 6th, 7th and 10th I know of don't either. I must say the hand-helds are quite efficient, so if mikster is going to a place that uses those, there will indeed be no problem with an entire table who want to pay with separate credit cards.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 03:49 PM
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No problem with the wine..we usually have at least 1 bottle for 2 people and all our friends are boozers, just like us!
jody is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 07:16 PM
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I've seen this done many places, quite cheerfully, too.
djkbooks is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 07:17 PM
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PS Very few, if any, credit card slips have a space for adding a gratuity. And, someone told me if you add a gratuity (which is really not necessary anyway) to a credit card slip, it goes to "the house", not the waitperson.

One exception is cocktail lounges and bars. Gratuities are not included, and they do prefer cash if you have it.
djkbooks is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 10:03 PM
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What ARE meal vouchers?

Meal vouchers are what most French employees get at work to subsidize lunch. You get a book of them every month, one for every day you worked the previous month. They are coupons with a value of anywhere from 5 to 9 euros (depending on your company) that you can use in almost any restaurant. Since a lot of people skip lunch to run errands, they use them for going out in the evening. My company gives vouchers for 7 euros and pays 60% of the value -- so they cost me 2.80€.
kerouac is online now  
Sep 5th, 2007, 01:17 AM
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As an ex waiter can I say - it is far easier for a waiter to deal with 3 credit cards with specific amounts than it is to deal with 3 separate cheques. Once the cheques are separated, the orders are separated, so it makes it much more difficult for the kitchen and the the wait staff to keep track of your courses and meals. That's why you can end up with your main when your dining companions are on their desserts.

OTOH if the bill comes to 100E and you say put 50 on my visa, 20 on his and 30 on hers, there is no problem for the waiter to process the 3 cards. That can also include the tip.

Many restaurants in Australia state on the menu that they will not do separate bills. And when I worked as a waiter in Canada, we regarded separate bills with dread.
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