separate checks??

Old Feb 6th, 2001, 05:19 AM
  #1  
candy
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separate checks??

We are a pretty large group travelling to Italy..six families - some with kids, some without, one single. There will be times we all eat together in a restaurant. Any opinions on how the restaurant will feel about doing separate checks for each family? How would you suggest we "split" the wine costs? Thanks for any input.
 
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 05:46 AM
  #2  
s.fowler
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I think they'd probably kill you on sight Just imagine how much fun this is in the US and then add in waiters who don't speak your language and for whom this is not the norm.

Elvira has a "take" on this I think -- which is to have a daily food "kitty" deposited into on the basis of family size and replenished if needed.

Another option is to divide each bill by the # of people and then each family pays their portion.

Both options ask that you not "kvetch" over differences at one meal. It will even out. You will have problems on ANY system though if even one person insists on a penny to penny account. [I once went out to dinner with a colleague who literally measured how much of the bottle of wine each of us had drunk -- aiieeeeee... ]On the other hand, arguments over meal checks may be a sport for you folks. If so, far from me to to deny you that pleasure
 
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 06:05 AM
  #3  
howbout
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Could you have each kid be 1/2 a person for the sake of figuring out the bill? It doesn't seem right for a kid to be a full payer but on the other hand why should someone without kids supplement?
 
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 06:07 AM
  #4  
candy
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A daily food kitty wouldn't work as we are all staying in our own separate apartments.
Any other suggestions?
 
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 06:11 AM
  #5  
Anne
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The easiest thing to do is just have everyone pay for what they ordered. For wine, I guess you'll just have to divide that equally among the people who drank wine.
 
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 06:30 AM
  #6  
Debbie
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I too am from a big family.
We deal with this issue quite often , when we go out for birthday meals.
For a vacation, the meal kitty would work ok , even though you are staying in separate apartments, you could have a group meal kitty , for when you do eat together.

We do the "split the check" route in our family. Little kids eating kids meals are blended into the total. Bigger kids , ordering full meals, are counted as adults. The total bill is then divided by the number of adults and then each family pays for the number of adults they have there.
**** The big thing to establish is, that the bill will be split evenly, regardless of whether you have lobster or a salad, 1 soda or 3 mixed drinks, so everyone should relax and enjoy themselves.
If this is a problem for anyone, our theory is - stay home.

Hope this helps.
Debbie
 
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 06:40 AM
  #7  
Patrick
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When four of us travel together, we take turns charging meals (we all want FF miles on our Citibank cards). At the end of the trip we figure out the totals and even it out with each other in cash. It's fun alternating being "host or hostess" for the evening --sometimes even having that person do the choosing of the restaurant. And we figure it all evens out in the long run. If anyone in our group required a penny by penny accounting or pulled the "wait a minute, I didn't have a dessert" routine, that person would not be invited to travel with us again. Under no circumstances ask for separate checks!!
 
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 06:41 AM
  #8  
Mariarosa
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Debbie's suggestions sound very reasonable. However, we have 1 friend who orders all courses and 4 martinis and the shrimp main entree. So even splitting can cause resentment if one or a few members take advantage of the even splitting. Only you can know if this can happen in your family.

My only suggestion is that if even splitting doesn't work in your family, then take a calculator and have 2-3 people in each meal calculate the actual costs of each family.

My other observation is that it would be very hard to sit 6 families in one table! It would probably be easier to split into 4-5 nearby tables. This way splitting a bill will be much easier!
 
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 06:43 AM
  #9  
Patrick
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Sorry, I didn't complete my post: I agree with the idea in the case of families, dividing by the number of "units" with kids counting as 1/2 unit each. But the taking turns of handling the bills and dividing at the end rather than every day still works.
 
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 06:44 AM
  #10  
candy
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actually we're not a family...just a large group with some people not even knowing others in the group. So i'm not sure of the dynamics. All kids are under 12 so I like the idea of them not "paying" - that way if I had more wine, bigger meal etc. than their parents, I wouldn't feel too bad.
 
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 07:03 AM
  #11  
ronnie
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This is a very interesting post...Although no one wants to be "cheap" and "anal" about these things, the cost of a European trip is expensive enough without subsidizing other people. I know when I go out for dinner with friends, it's not an issue - we just divie it up no matter who ate or drank what. But when it's a big group, kids involved...you really need a system that's agreed on from the beginning. Now what that system is, I'm not sure!
 
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 07:28 AM
  #12  
why
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OK,,,at the risk of getting my head knocked off..if you have say two families of 4, a family of 3 and a couple - if these "groups" were at seperate tables they would have to have separate bills. Could you not just point to your small group and order for that group with a separate check? Why is this such a no-no?
 
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 08:47 AM
  #13  
clairobscur
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Though I support the even splitting concept, the solution I used sometimes when eating with friends is to let the most penny-obsessed guest make the maths and split the bill. Usually this person like the job, take pride in doing it correctly while the others who don't really care enjoy their dessert.
 
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 09:50 AM
  #14  
elvira
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I like the kitty, but you have to have a group that's in sync - people who know each other and everyone's eating habits (all spend about the same, eat about the same); it doesn't work if one person is on a water and salad diet and William 'the Refrigerator' Perry is also in the group. Clairobscur's method has worked for me in disparate groups (I was the one that did the math, mostly because I could). It's lots easier in Europe than in the U.S. because the meal includes tax and tip. Re the wine splitting: unless you're planning on spending $500 a bottle, split it evenly between the adults ($30 divided by 12 is chump change). If someone gets stinky about "well I had one glass of wine and HE had TWO", tell them they are elected to figure out the cost per person.

 
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 10:40 AM
  #15  
gluck
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Because this is a disparate group, you may need to agree on a rough budget per adult/child meal if you are going the split route. I'm not anal about splitting the cheque either, but my credit card company gets pretty anal if I can't pay them off because I went over budget!

But frankly, that size group is just too cumbersome to go out to town with unless you warn the restaurant in advance. You may want to split up the group into various different combinations for different nights out.
 
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 11:14 AM
  #16  
Mitch
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We had a smiliar problem this past summer, three families traveling in Poland, Czech Rep., Germany and Switzerland. Two with kids, one with not. I think I read it earlier, but whenever we ate together, we switched, becasue we all wanted frequenct flier miles...., by the time the two week vacation was over we ate together about 10 times, and after all the exchange rates and such...., it ended up being less than $20 USD that we owed the other couples. Not a big deal when you add it up in the long run. Funny how things work out like that!
 
Old Feb 7th, 2001, 07:19 AM
  #17  
Debbie
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I too have found the taking turns method works. Since my family only goes out en-masse a few times a year , we do the split evenly thing.

When travelling with my Mother to England, and more recently to Ireland, we take turns buying dinner each night. We don't even bother to do a final tally at the end of the trip - just assume it comes out in the end. We do the same thing with Hotels/B&B's - ahead of time I figure out how to make them even out cost wise, and then we take turns paying for lodging in each city. Works out nice, and doesn't confuse the hotel/b&b owner.

Debbie
 
Old Feb 7th, 2001, 11:17 AM
  #18  
elaine
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candy
I think it's important that everyone discuss it in advance, and allow them wiggle room to really say what they feel so resentments don't come up later.
You could bring up the various issues raised here: child vs adult appetites,
wine drinkers vs tee totalers,
big eaters vs people who just order a main course, people who have just a salad for lunch and others who want a full meal, bottled water drinkers vs non, etc.
Most people may agree to split the checks evenly or alternate paying,perhaps minus the wine or cocktails, but there may be one or two
people who never drink wine or who never eat much and perhaps those one or two people can ask for a separate check.
It's unlikely you are all going to fit at one table anyway.
 
Old Feb 7th, 2001, 11:28 AM
  #19  
noway
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Going to Italy and not drinking the wine and not eating huge meals???? No way!! lol
 
Old Feb 8th, 2001, 04:27 AM
  #20  
Paige
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I agree with a previous poster that you should be able to point to who gets billed together and order that way. I don't think that would be a big deal.
 

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