Separate checks at restaurants

Nov 29th, 2006, 05:26 PM
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Separate checks at restaurants

Five of us (ladies in late 50's) are spending 2 weeks in Paris. Since we are all on separate budgets, is it okay to ask for separate checks at restaurants? Would they be offended if we even asked? Or do we need to get one check and later figure out each person's cost?
Allivian is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 05:41 PM
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I can't speak for Paris, but I can tell you that I was part of a group of 6 that spent 10 days in Italy in October.

We decided the first night that since we were eating similar things, we would simply split the checks 6 ways and be done with it. We were all on our own sort of budgets, some with higher budgets then others, but this worked very well for us.

Prior to the trip, we had decided that we would all be prepared to pay cash for meals, and we would figure it out at the table prior to paying. During the first dinner in Rome, we decided that would be too much of a pain, and the splitting it 6 ways was much easier.

On average, we spent about 15-15 Euro per person for dinner and around 15 Euro each for lunch. None of us thought that splitting the check caused us to pay more that we would have had we paid individually.

Hope this helps.
pantelia is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 05:59 PM
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No, they wouldn't be offended at all but they will say a big NO Too much work .... they usually note what you ask for by table, not by person.. And it will be bad for you if they say yes, because it is very easy to get will be safer doing the cost counts yourselves
kenderina is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 07:00 PM
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My friend and I just split the cost. I think it's not so common in Paris (Europe too?) to ask for separate checks.
francophile03 is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 07:23 PM
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Not done!
Robert2533 is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 08:52 PM
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Thank you all for the quick reply. You have been a great help. I'll take your suggestions/comments to our group.
Allivian is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 08:59 PM
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If you're all friendly and reasonable, don't bother. I would guess that someone in your group is prepared to figure out the tab. Otherwise, just ask. They'll do it or not. Many, many more places don't mind issuing separate checks, but ask before you order. In the more casual places, especially cafes, you'll receive them anyway.
djkbooks is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 09:08 PM
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Separate checks are very common in France, particularly among young people. And they are practically a given at lunchtime among co-workers. There are probably not so common at high end restaurants, however now that all such things are prepared by cash register computer terminals, it is no trouble at all to get a separate check whenever you want one. In the old days, when things were added up manually, it might have dismayed some waiters. Not any more!
kerouac is online now  
Nov 30th, 2006, 04:09 AM
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My friend and I just split the cost. I think it's not so common in Paris (Europe too?) to ask for separate checks.

this is simply not true. in many european countries, it is ASSUMED that charging will be done separately (e.g. germany, denmark and many others). in other countries (eg france, UK and others) it is common to ask to be charged separately.

there is also a cultural point america, for example, it is often seen as petty for friends to want pay only for what they have ordered rather than just to split the bill evenly. as an extention to this idea, it is often the case to just have one pay person pay and say 'you can pay next time'. even splitting the bill evenly can be seen as paltry and distasteful in many circles.

in europe, this is not really the case. in most countries, paying for what you ordered is more expected in a group and the person who reaches for the bill and starts to split by food ordered is not seen as petty.

as for 5 people always being on separate bills, i don't know how this will work in practice in every case. however, i completely agree with kerouac and i often eat in a group in paris on business and we always pay separately. most times when we go out for dinner, we will split evenly or by food ordered (with a single bill presented by the restaurant).

if you can make it work, i think that it is a better idea to pay for what you have. splitting it evenly often leaves one or two people (at least) with the feeling that they got a 'bad deal'....not so bad for a single meal but for two weeks, the non-drinkers and chicken eaters will start to feel shorted. 5 women travelling together for 2 weeks is begging for friction anyway, so why not try to minimise problem points where possible.
walkinaround is online now  
Nov 30th, 2006, 04:14 AM
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I traveled in France with 5 other people last month. In order make things simple. We decided that one person would be responsible for the check each night...since most of the places we ate at were more or less in the same price range, it worked out very well. Otherwise, just ask them to split the check...if you are paying with plastic they should be able to do it, I suppose. Either they will say yes or they will refuse..does not jurt to ask.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 30th, 2006, 04:22 AM
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In my experience in Europe, most restaurants have tax & service included in the price, so the waiter, with his little change purse, figures your total on a piece of paper, takes your money, gives you change, and moves on to the next person. Separate tabs shouldn't be a problem. It may be a little more challenging in restaurants that use computerized checks, but if you ask, most will accommodate you.
Budman is offline  
Nov 30th, 2006, 05:19 AM
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walkinaround, thanks for correcting me. I wasn't sure.
francophile03 is offline  
Nov 30th, 2006, 06:56 AM
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With my friends, it usually depends. If we all had more or less the same thing, we simply split the check, otherwise we calculate, but we never ask for separate checks. Luckily quite some of us are engineers, so some calculating isn't a big issue
stardust is offline  
Nov 30th, 2006, 10:11 AM
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We often travel with another couple and divide costs. We have a common purse and from that purse we pay all common bills such as gas, tolls and meals. When the purse gets low we each put in another 200 euros or so.
Bob_C is offline  
Nov 30th, 2006, 11:20 AM
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I think the easiest is for everyone to have cash with them, and put in what they owe on the check each meal.

Spliting the bill 5 ways evenly, when people have different priced food could cause hard feelings in both directions. If someone doesn't drink, I still want to feel free to have as much wine as I like without someone else having to pay for it.

Another method is to establish a "kitty" and a treasurer who is willing to manage it.

The one method I would not use is expecting separate checks, at least in certain more high-end restaurants.

Cafeterias, self-serve, and fast-food places are another way to avoid the issue, since everyone pays for their own.
suze is online now  
Nov 30th, 2006, 03:07 PM
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It's not unusual to split the bill between 2 persons, sometimes I've done among 3 people in casual restaurants that are not busy. But splitting among 5 people maybe a tad too much.
I agree with other posters who recommended a more elegant solution. Each of you taking turns, or keeping a record and settling toward the end of the trip.
W9London is offline  
Nov 30th, 2006, 04:53 PM
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Asking for separate checks is definently an american thing. Remember the wait staff are not so dependent on tips and therefore won't bow down to over-demanding tourists. It should be easy for you all to work it out. Good luck even asking someone in french to split the check.
scottishqueen is offline  
Nov 30th, 2006, 04:57 PM
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p.s. Walkinaround is slightly is seen as very petty and rather vulgar in almost all of europe [I grew up there] to argue over a check for what usually turns out to be pennies a difference on each persons dish. Unless there is unique circumstances such as a vegetarian when everyone else orders expensive steaks or someone who doesn't drink alchohol and the table orders expensive wine. Usually a table dining together can easily have a conversation about someone chipping in more or less than "average".
scottishqueen is offline  
Nov 30th, 2006, 05:01 PM
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I'm with suze, I have much more drinks than some of our friends and it's not fair for them to pay for our share. Bring cash. But all of the diners should rather than one who gets to put it on his charge card for miles.
Diners, like our friends who may order like things and wine, we split it between two.
Nothing worse than a group of women who bicker over who owes what. I won't do that. There's always one who stiffs like one GTG.
cigalechanta is offline  
Nov 30th, 2006, 05:18 PM
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Oh, Mimi, how true. I had lunch with two friends last Christmas at Chanterelle, one of the best restaurants in Manhattan. My friend, John, and I decided to order the $35 prix-fixe menu and suggested to our friend, Mary Ann, to do the same. Well, she ordered the $45 filet mignon, four glasses of $12 wine, and $15 chocolate cake for her pudding. When the bill arrived, guess what?

Mary Ann wanted to split the bill THREE WAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Oh, no, she didn't, Blanche" John exclaimed, wagging his finger like a white Ru Paul who went to Choate.

We made Mary Ann pay her fair share. But, guess what? She didn't give us any money for the tip. B****!

I don't like to ask for seperate checks either in a restaurant. But, when you go out to eat with a Mary Ann you just have to.
marginal_margiela is offline  

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