The Golden Rule For Splitting The Check At Restaurants

It's always nice when you have the chance to dine out with family or friends at a restaurant. In addition to providing a social occasion where you can enjoy a good meal and lively conversation, you get to take a break from cooking in your own kitchen. After the meal has come and gone and it is time to settle the bill, a decision must be made on whether to request separate checks. Hopefully, you've planned payment arrangements ahead, but regardless, there is a golden rule you should always follow to keep with proper customer etiquette.

Although now in many establishments you can pay at the table with a digital POS (point of sale) system as opposed to a server having to use a kiosk, it is courteous to ask in advance what a restaurant's policy is for splitting checks. You'll want to determine if you can separate out items for each person or if they require you to split the bill evenly. Opt for the simplest route whenever possible. If you can avoid making extra work for your server and monopolizing their time away from other tables, that's the right thing to do.

How to approach check splitting

A server posted a real-world situation regarding separate checks to Reddit's forum r/talesfromaserver recalling an instance where guests asked her to split the cost of an appetizer four ways. They decried this as a customer faux pas. Many servers commented that their restaurants had POS systems that made splitting checks a breeze, while others said it could present a challenge depending on where you work and the restaurant's separate check protocol. Another suggested putting it on the bill of the person who ordered it. Several customers noted that when they go out as a group the person who ordered the app usually pays for it to simplify things. While most servers indicated that they are fine with splitting checks or individual items multiple ways due to the ease of their employer's POS system, there is another alternative.

To remedy a situation in which you have a large party dining out together and everybody wants to chip in, you can have one or two people front the bill and then reimburse them. With so many smartphone payment apps available these days such as Venmo, Zelle, Cash App, and PayPal, we can pay people back instantaneously. Whatever approach you take to the bill, inform your server beforehand how you would like to pay and whether you want to request separate checks. Customer service jobs are already stressful enough, and by letting them know ahead of time you can help make their job a little easier.