Wednesday, May 25, 2011


A friend of ours who works in a midtown restaurant explained the drama of presenting a check to a table. “There’s nothing more complicated than when a table of say, eight, wants to split one check with several credit cards. An even split is fine but some actually want to pay for their chicken, another one’s appetizer and someone else’s drink.”

And then there’s the old, “I had the this and you had the that." When it comes to leaving their share, "They forget about taxes and tips," she said. Leaving $30 for a $25 entree isn't a show of generosity.

The server isn’t being difficult if they can’t split the check to your liking. They have a computer to answer to. We learned that there are various computerized programs, such as Aloha and Micros. Some can break down individual meals and drinks by the seat and others don’t.

She advises diners to use cash or do an even divide on credit cards. Credit cards and some cash can work, it’s up to the server to make sure the credit card is closed out or the cardholder just unwittingly hosted a dinner. (This can usually be corrected.)

When she goes out with friends, they’ll give the last four digits of their credit card, the name of the card and how much to charge it. One acquaintance calls it an ATM night when he dines with others. He puts the whole check on his card and takes the cash. (He also avoids a bank fee.)

And one last tip – don’t stiff the server if you didn’t like your food. She/he didn’t cook it. Talk to the manager, you’d be surprised how generous restaurants can be when they know you weren’t happy.

Buon Appetito!

1 comment:

TJB said...

Oh, how I detest the, "I had the... and you had the... but she had an appetizer..." conversation.

Frankly, I try to only dine out with people whose company I enjoy -- and I could never really enjoy being around anyone, under any circumstances, who would split hairs like that, especially when sharing a meal should be a joyful, convivial experience.

The flip side, of course, are the people who take advantage of a group meal, and order an entire bottle of wine for themselves and their date; or drink an unlimited number of cocktails while everyone else has one.

Call me a curmudgeon, but I find large group outings tiresome, anyway, and limit my dining experiences to one-on-one; with two friends; or coupled off into a foursome. It's more intimate, and you have the luxury of really knowing what you're getting yourself into with the people you invite. Five, six or more, and you're more likely to be saddled with one of the above scenarios.