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Dining out etiquette - what do you think?

(96 Posts)
applemac Thu 14-Apr-05 13:14:50

Whenever I go out to eat with a group of friends I find that the generally accepted thing to do is to split the bill evenly. I don't think this is quite fair because it means that if you have had, say a main course with only two drinks you end up having to pay extra for those who have had, say three courses and have drunk everyone under the table.

Is splitting the bill evenly always fair and I'm out of touch? Or do others like me feel to an extent that it is a bit unfair? over to mumsnet

poppy101 Thu 14-Apr-05 13:18:59

I think that it is quite fair to split the bill, only other option is to split the main bill but just say that you won't pay for any extra drinks as sometimes you don't always drinks and have soft drinks and its not fair to pay for wine etc.

snafu Thu 14-Apr-05 13:19:15

Split it evenly every time. Quibbling over the bill is the ultimate in petty rudeness, imo. Sorry!

Blu Thu 14-Apr-05 13:20:46

I usually take the view that it is the event as a whole that is the shared occasion, rather than us each having 'individual shopping lists', IYSWIM. But if I was aware that some people were not drinking, or that I had ordered significantly more than others, I would throw in a good bit extra at bill time.

sandyballs Thu 14-Apr-05 13:20:58

I am having the same problem with my group of friends - I don't think it's fair to split the bill if the difference between the diners is that obvious. Some of our group don't drink at all so why should they pay for someone else to get legless, it doesn't make sense.

It always works in my favour because I'm a 3 courses and a bottle of wine sort , but I would be miffed if, for instance, I drove one night and had to pay the same amount as my drinking friends.

On the other hand, it's a pain to sit there and work out everyones contribution - difficult one, I shall watch the responses to this with interest!

morningpaper Thu 14-Apr-05 13:21:25

I agree, quibbling over bills is unseemly! Should always be split evenly, unless you want your friends to think you are a tightwad!

Bearess Thu 14-Apr-05 13:21:31

I always split bill evenly when I go out - if a friend is pg so not drinking or something then they usually pay less. Just make sure you scoff three courses next time!!

hunkersneakymunker Thu 14-Apr-05 13:21:33

This is something I find difficult - we don't have a lot of money and once ended up paying £19 for two soft drinks because our 'friends' were necking wine and we still split the bill.

After that incident, I've probably come across as a bit rude on occasion - I am obviously happy to pay for what we've eaten and drunk and will leave a tip if the service has been good (but am not an automatic tipper - God, I sound like a nightmare, don't I!), but I don't expect to pay for anyone else's food/drink, nor do I expect them to pay for mine.

I don't drink much anyway, so I'm hardly going to force myself to just so that the bill works out fairly (alcohol has a horrible effect on me - even a tiny amount gets me pretty drunk, more just makes me very ill).

ambrosia Thu 14-Apr-05 13:21:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

iota Thu 14-Apr-05 13:22:32

I think splitting the bill evenly and with minimal fuss is the best way to ensure a pleasant night out with friends.

unless of course you're a very poor student...ah I remember those days

marthamoo Thu 14-Apr-05 13:22:45

Am with snafu. Have one friend who always quibbles - "oh well, I didn't have a pudding, and I only had one drink blah blah blah" and it really, really bugs me. Just split it equally and have done.

Although I have another friend who always picks the most expensive thing on the specials board, barely touches it, and then we split the bill equally and that bugs me too! I wouldn't mind if she ate it and enjoyed it - it's the fact that she just picks at it. If she's not going to get stuck in why doesn't she order something cheaper?

cod Thu 14-Apr-05 13:22:49

Message withdrawn

snafu Thu 14-Apr-05 13:23:36

Oh, I should say, that if I had obviously eaten/drunk loads more than everyone else (quite possible), I would throw in some extra to cover my gluttony. But people who say 'I only had a salad and a mineral water' and start working it out on the napkins.....grrrrrr!

applemac Thu 14-Apr-05 13:23:44

Yes my main problem is with when someone pregnant and not drinking having to pay for peoples drinks. I think splitting the main bill is okay.

cod Thu 14-Apr-05 13:24:17

Message withdrawn

Blu Thu 14-Apr-05 13:25:22

If I had been out with Hunker on that occasion i would have said 'don't worry, I'll get this, you only had 2 soft drinks'.
There are times when a bit of consideration by those in full bon viveur mode is good manners - and saves the pg, teetotal or need-to-watch-the-pennies friends the difficulty of being the ones to appear 'rude'.
That is the best etiquette IMO.

wild Thu 14-Apr-05 13:26:20

and I don't drink
Last time I was out everyone made sure I paid less but I was a bit embarrassed, it's the evening you're paying for really

Bearess Thu 14-Apr-05 13:26:42

went out with 25 women for a friend's hen-do recently and two cheeky mares started quibbling the service charge which was added automatically as we were such a large group - the service had been absolutely fine - I remember being a waitress when I was a student and used to hate getting the big tables because it was such hard work. They took it upon themselves to take the £50 charge out of the pot without my knowledge which meant that others had to pay more to make it up!!

hunkersneakymunker Thu 14-Apr-05 13:27:29

Cod Yes, I am a miserable sod - but if I was wealthy, I would pay for everyone. I'm not tight, just skint!

(However, I don't work things out on napkins, I don't get a calculator out, I just tot up what I've had, and if the split bill is way off that, I ask to split the food and drink separately - since the drink is usually where the problem lies)

Ameriscot2005 Thu 14-Apr-05 13:27:56

90% of the time, you split the bill evenly, especially if it is a very large group.

But I have heard of everyone just paying approximately their share, so either way works, you just have to agree up front how you are going to do it. It helps to be totally uncool and bring a notepad and calculator to help you work everything out.

Catbert Thu 14-Apr-05 13:28:09

Once upon a time when I was on biz in Canada, we went to a restaraunt, who gave each member of the table, their own personal bill! Fantastic for claiming expenses, and as it was a question of a computerised till, and each table having separate numbered places, I frankly could not see why more places in the world would not implement such a system!

snafu Thu 14-Apr-05 13:28:35

Bearess, that's awful. I cannot stand people like that, so tight.

Shazzler Thu 14-Apr-05 13:29:29

I think splitting the bill is the best idea. Usually all our friends have about the same so there is never too much of a problem.

Only problem we seem to have is that some forget to include a tip and then you are left to tip for everyone.

If we have ever done individual bills there always seems to be a problem at the end and the money never adds up..........

ggglimpopo Thu 14-Apr-05 13:29:52

Message withdrawn

hunkersneakymunker Thu 14-Apr-05 13:30:12

I've taken service off if it's been lamentable. And I don't pay for olives that are brought without being asked if I want the evil little snotty things

I have been a waitress and a barmaid too, just before anyone thinks I am a total nightmare

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