How do you splt the bill?

Sep 4th, 2007, 01:42 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Sorry, my post should have read 'another' matter, not 'enough' matter. (Apparently, I don't have enough of 'that' kind of matter either!)

Wekiva - Obviously, the more food everyone orders, the more complicated it can get. But the bigger the bill, the more unfair it can also be for the person who isn't eating or drinking as much. The original poster asked for our experiences - the group I travel and dine with are all very different eaters; I couldn't in all conscience make other friends pay for my desserts, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, no matter how complicated it might be to split up the bill. But if you or rpowell travel with a group where everyone eats and drinks about the same, I say, do what works for you.

And I agree with other posters that having the group talk about it before getting to Italy is very smart planning.
rickmav is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 02:20 PM
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We are 4 couples travelling to Italy together next month. We have discussed the dining issue and decided to split the checks equally. We all drink wine and enjoy food so this seems the best option.

It will never be completely equal of course. I do not eat dessert and generally order less courses than most of my friends but I enjoy a couple of glasses of wine with dinner.

The biggest inconvenience will be with restaurants who want all cash in order to split checks but we have agreed to make that assumption and be prepared.

The other option we discussed was alternating who pays for dinner and keeping a tally to review at the end. But, we have agree a straight split would be better for us.
kfusto is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 02:44 PM
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While I have never traveled with any other couples who would be sensitive about such a thing, if I did... here is what I would propose.

Round the bill up to the nearest 30 euros. Now you have a number easily divisible by three. Couple A and couple B pay one third of this new amount; couple C benefits by paying less (i.e., pays the same as couples A and B minus the "round-up amount" - - which could be anywhere between 1 and 29 euros - - that's the reward for collecting from the other two), and it gives an element of a lottery to the meal.

Example: the bill is 189 euros. Round up to 210. Couple A and B each pay 70 euros to couple C, who pays the entire bill (i.e., pays 49 for their share, rather than 70). Depending on the mood of the group, couple C might leave a few euros as tip to the wait staff.

Rotate the roles as often as you wish - - and if couples A and B are quite convinced that couple C really does "owe less" (don't drink wines or other bar beverages, orders less expensive food or no dessert or whatever) then be magnanimous and let couple C get the "lower share" every meal - - or at least more often.

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 02:45 PM
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When my husband and I go out with friends we usually all eat & drink about the same and just split the bill or take turns paying with friends we go out with often.

When I went a trip with three other women friends one person paid for the hotel rooms, another paid for the excursions and we all picked up different tabs at the restaurants. We kept the receipts for everything with who paid on top and tallied it on the way home. We then wrote out a check to whoever was owed money. It was very easy and made eating out together not an issue.

On a side note, when I was a server years ago, I preferred to give out separate checks (if they told me in advance.) Much better tips than if the table combined money, when the tip seems to be an afterthought and they figure the server won't know who didn't tip well (if at all!)
jbm is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 03:51 PM
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You don't wait for the bill to come, when you ORDER you pay attention to what your own meal and beverages cost, as clearly listed on the menu.

This ain't rocket science folks. Everyone carries cash, and puts in the correct amount. One person take a moment to recheck and make sure it is sufficient before handing to the waiter.
suze is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 08:29 PM
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We had 3 couples who pretty much ate and drank the same amounts. We alternated paying the bill for each meal. No special order, just whoever had enough cash and tried to keep it 'even'. One person simply kept track of who paid and how much it was. At the end we settled up any differences. It worked out great. No splitting bills or dampening the 'mood'. I suppose if someone ate or drank less on a particular night, it could be noted on the "list" and settled accordingly at the end. Better to have to do it just once, than at every meal.
Important thing is to talk about it before the trip so everyone is comfortable.
dosu is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 09:44 AM
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Dosu, that's the system I was trying to describe as well. It has worked for us, too.
Sep 5th, 2007, 09:59 AM
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For me, this really depends on how all parties order. I have to eat with clients that are HUGE spenders. The relationship is such that we sometimes share meals in Italy, and it is not up to me to pay. Here is a story that one of them recently told me:

All four of the people I am meeting in Venice were out for tapas and drinks. Four people, the bill was 500 US dollars. Two each gave 100 dollars. One gave nothing. One payed the other 300!

Also with the same people, four of us shared a ride from Positano to Pompeii, to lunch, with me being dropped at Naples airport and the others going all the way to Rome. They figured that I owed half the bill.

To some of you, this might sound cheap, but I can't afford that sort of spending. They are good clients and give referrals, but my professional rates are nothing compared to their spending.

I am willing to eat with them in Venice, but as I don't drink any alcohol and no Coke, and they drink tons of expensive alcohol, I feel the bill issue needs to be discussed before we meet.

I'm not sure how to put it to them. I don't want to offend, that's for sure.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 11:20 AM
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It's easy to find a good system when people have the same eating, drinking, and spending habits.

But in this post specifically they already know one person doesn't drink at all and other doesn't eat much. That's what makes it deserving of some kind of bookkeeping system imo.
suze is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 11:22 AM
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Splitting evenly or alternating paying, when people spend so differently is not fair to either side. I would not feel comfortable ordering what I wanted... lots of wine and a couple courses, if the person having tap water and a green salad was going to have to pay for part of it!
suze is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 12:00 PM
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I'm with suze on this one and I think it's important to respect someone else's budget too. Maybe the person ordering the green salad and water can't afford to subsidise someone else's meal/alcohol tab. Just do the math!
To be honest we always check the tab anyway and find we are overcharged about 20% of the time....way too often IMO.

tuscanlifeedit, in that situation I'd probably resort to eating ahead of the meeting and join the clients for a drink.
Sip a glass of water slowly at the meeting and wave off offers of food/ drink with comments such as 'nothing for me thanks' , 'just water', ' I'm full/ dieting/ just not hungry but enjoying the company nonetheless' and leave them to settle the bill between them.
It's a little more difficult if you have to meet them several times then I'd just be upfront and mention that I was on a tight budget and it's a good job that I don't drink alcohol. Be blunt but smile, pay for what you ate (do keep a tally ) AND thank them for understanding when the check arrives.
You never know they might even cover the check... sounds like they owe you anyway!
highflyer is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 01:25 PM
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In many places in Italy, Spain and France there's a charge just for the table setup. Sometimes the bread is charged too, so this complicates separating the bills. If the salad and water diner will have to separate for their items plus share on the pre-set charges. It's going to need a calculator at the table.

blackduff is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 01:45 PM
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Maybe I'll take a calculator; one of those little solar things. Or, when I get to Italy and can check, I'll see if my Italian cell phone has a calculator.

I am having a meeting with these clients next week, so I am going to discuss this frankly, but in the nicest way I can think of.

tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 01:42 AM
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Most waiters and waitresses don't like people splitting the bill as it gets rid of a lot of their change and takes up valuable time.

If you're all good friends I'm sure someone with the larger walet can pay for the bill and you all chip in 'your share' to the one doing the paying.

Otherwise, sit on different tables.
travelnotes is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 01:55 AM
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Hi - I posted this on the other thread. It may help with understanding the logistics involved in delivering the meal to your table...

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.
Sarvowinner is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 02:12 AM
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We just returned from Ireland where we were traveling with other couples. We found out that if you all sit in one table, you get one bill. It is even written in the menus. So, what many may assume as a No Brainer, it nowhere near as simple oftentimes. What we did was that one couple will pay every night and we just selected restaurant venues with similar price range. At the end, we noticed it all even out. It worked out beautifully.
Viajero2 is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 02:18 AM
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Maureen, you took offense of Christina'e remarks that >>A lot of people (particularly Americans) are mathematically illiterate<<. Why should you even pay attention to a remark that is a clear indicator of a pea-brain?
Viajero2 is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 04:02 AM
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In Greece we never NEVER ask for separate bills, and i assume the same applies in Italy as well.
(i'm talking about locals, probably for other nations it's common)
It's not that they won't give it to you if you'll ask them, but you'll definitely get weird looks!!

So i suggest that you do the calculation at the table and just pay the waiter once!
cristine27 is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 06:23 AM
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Wow, I didn't realize that so many people are sensitive about paying exactly for what they ate! I find it difficult to fathom why adding up each person's/couple's actual total is a mood killer or somehow insulting or uncomfortable.

I suppose if someone said it made them uncomfortable, I'd agree to some other way of splitting the bill. But I still don't get it.
Jake1 is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 06:50 AM
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I don't know about Italy, but in France there is an itemized bill which you can keep, so if you really want to "settle up" you can do that later. Unless it's a huge difference, it's not usually worth fussing with.

But, we've also been with another couple (never again) who always "forgets" items they ordered and adds incorrectly.
djkbooks is offline  

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