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Service charge on bill
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Hollychristmasjoy · 06/08/2022 00:31

I thought of this from the back of a thread I read on here recently and it really is a first world problem! So sorry in advance.

When splitting the bill do you also split the service charge equally or go to the faff of working out your own %.

I recently went out for a meal with friends for one of their birthdays. My friend is a chef at this restaurant and gets 40% off the total bill. It’s not a cheap place to eat but not the ritz either. For example, my main was £30.

I had a starter, main, pudding and 2 cocktails.

Birthday girl had the same as me.

Friend 1 had a main and 2 cocktails.

Friend 2 had just her main and drank tap water.

On top of the above we also got given a extra 2 cocktails each for free because it was my friends birthday.

The bill came to approx £230. The service charge was 12.5% and the amount stated was pre discount, not after (I’m not complaining about this) so approx £28 ish.

Everyone paid for what they ate and drank after the 40% was removed but we split the service charge equally.

Friend 2 only owed £10 for her meal (after discount) as that’s all she had and she had a cheaper item on the menu.

But When collecting the cash I said It was £10 + £7 for the service charge… Now I think for a split second she was about to say something but I’m unsure if I imagined it although it’s got me wondering if she thought it was unfair.

I’m wondering if what I did was right… as technically the service charge was only higher as the rest of us had more but at the same time it seems extreme to start splitting the service charge by %. It also never crossed my mind that it would be seen as unfair until my friend hesitated.

So WIBU to split it equally? And before anyone mentions it ..no I wouldn’t ever ask them to remove a service charge unless the service was terrible! and I certainly wouldn’t do it in my friends place of work.

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Am I being unreasonable?

AIBU

You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

Tothemoonandbackx · 06/08/2022 00:41

The server spent more time serving you and your other friend, so yeah, the service charge should have been split fairly too.

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Mennex · 06/08/2022 00:42

I've voted YABU but actually I don't really know. Are you saying the £7 was her equal share of the service charge? Seems a bit harsh to pay almost the same as your meal in service charge.

Everytime I've been on this situation the eat little people have been doing it as budget conscious/tight and the people having a normal meal and eating pudding and havin a drink haven't really cared, so the small amount/no alcohol have just paid their amount and then all the normal people have spilt whatever is left on the bill equally, including service. Not really fair but, honestly, who can get worked up about paying and extra few pounds so the people on a budget/teetotaler can sanctimoniously 'pay for what they had'?

I constantly get shafted on this because I am vegetarian and my mains cost sometimes half as much as the fuckers that order steak or sea bass. So broadly I support the 'pay for what you eat' concept if someone can be bothered to work it out, I can't.

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Bunty55 · 06/08/2022 00:43

Oh Lord I could not be bothered with all of that palaver

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RJnomore1 · 06/08/2022 00:44

£7 for 2 cocktails isn’t a bad deal.

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Hollychristmasjoy · 06/08/2022 00:45

Yes the service charge was £28 so £7 each if split 4 ways.

Just to clarify, she’s not on a budget or Teetotal. She drank the 2 free cocktails. I know she’s not struggling for money (we are good friends).

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Sheepreallylikerichteabiscuits · 06/08/2022 00:47

Normally I would just split it equally (and I am a non drinking vegetarian so this never benefits me)

But I think if someone has eaten so carefully that her food at a reasonably pricey restaurant only came to £10 and they only drank tap water I would probably assume they were being very careful with money.
'
In that case the £7 nearly doubled their bill, which feels unfair.

But I might not have thought that on the spot either OP, I probably would have second guessed myself when I got home.

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Sheepreallylikerichteabiscuits · 06/08/2022 00:48

Sorry I cross posted with where you confirmed she isn't short of money

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Mennex · 06/08/2022 00:49

Hmmm ok I think I'm switching to YANBU but I don't know. I'd struggle to eat 3 courses and drink 3 drinks in one sitttig these days so I suppose it does seem a bit harsh for her but I can't really say why. She was served the meal and the 2 cocktails, got a discount and some free cocktails and £17 in a nice restaurant for a main and 2 cocktails is reasonable.....

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Hollychristmasjoy · 06/08/2022 00:50

Sheepreallylikerichteabiscuits · 06/08/2022 00:47

Normally I would just split it equally (and I am a non drinking vegetarian so this never benefits me)

But I think if someone has eaten so carefully that her food at a reasonably pricey restaurant only came to £10 and they only drank tap water I would probably assume they were being very careful with money.
'
In that case the £7 nearly doubled their bill, which feels unfair.

But I might not have thought that on the spot either OP, I probably would have second guessed myself when I got home.

That is what’s happened. I can’t even be 100% sure she did hesitate but it was when I got home I was thinking it through.

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Mennex · 06/08/2022 00:52

I think, on balance, I'd probably have said to 1 and 2 "can you put a fiver in for service charge" and then you and BD girl pay £9 each. That feel 'right' to me.

But whether I'd have had the presence of mind to come up with that, on the spot, after 4 cocktails, I don't know 😆

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Hollychristmasjoy · 06/08/2022 00:54

Mennex · 06/08/2022 00:49

Hmmm ok I think I'm switching to YANBU but I don't know. I'd struggle to eat 3 courses and drink 3 drinks in one sitttig these days so I suppose it does seem a bit harsh for her but I can't really say why. She was served the meal and the 2 cocktails, got a discount and some free cocktails and £17 in a nice restaurant for a main and 2 cocktails is reasonable.....

I was completely rammed by the end and didnt finish all of my pudding or main but I really wanted to try the stuff on the menu hence ordering all 3😅 I would normally only order a main when out.

The cocktails were fancy too so they were small. Not huge sex on the beach type cocktails that is mostly fruit juice. 😂

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PeachCottonTree · 06/08/2022 00:55

It does seem like she is watching how much she spends, ordering a much cheaper meal and drinking tap water. She then paid a 70% service charge on the price of her meal, the free cocktails are irrelevant as it doesn’t sound their value was included in the service charge and everyone benefitted from them.

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Mennex · 06/08/2022 00:56

Not criticising, I'd eat 3 courses if I could (and used to), I just can't anymore in middle age.

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Dartmoorcheffy · 06/08/2022 01:01

Sounds to me like she was skint especially if she drank the 2 free cocktails.

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WishIWasOnHolidayAgain · 06/08/2022 01:08

I am close friends with 3 other girls. In the past we have gone out for expensive meals, had nice holidays, all buy each other lovely gifts etc. If you asked any of them they'd say I'm not struggling financially but they would be wrong. I've tried to keep up but feel like I'm drowning now and it's very depressing. So in this situation I'd have hated to be put on the spot to pay the extra. Also a teetotal vegetarian so have in the past just happily split.
Things change for people @Hollychristmasjoy

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caringcarer · 06/08/2022 01:48

The service charge accounts for how many times the waiter/waitress comes to serve you. Your friend had one course and just tap water so twice including their jug of water. The rest of you had more waiter/waitress service as more courses so should have paid more. If your friend ordered the cheap meal and drank tap water surely you can see they are trying to economise and let them pay for what they have plus £2 service and the rest of you split the rest of bill.

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phishy · 06/08/2022 06:45

I’m teetotal and generally very much in favour of people just paying for what they ate and drank + tip. But on this particular occasion, I think it was right that the service charge be split equally.

It just would have looked odd after all that generosity to start dividing the service charge. Technically it is a bit unfair on her but in these particular circumstances, I would have been fine with this.

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phishy · 06/08/2022 06:46

caringcarer · 06/08/2022 01:48

The service charge accounts for how many times the waiter/waitress comes to serve you. Your friend had one course and just tap water so twice including their jug of water. The rest of you had more waiter/waitress service as more courses so should have paid more. If your friend ordered the cheap meal and drank tap water surely you can see they are trying to economise and let them pay for what they have plus £2 service and the rest of you split the rest of bill.

She also had two large cocktail. They’re not always easy to make.

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Svara · 06/08/2022 06:52

If it was £10 after discount, then about £17 pre discount so she should only pay about £2.50 service charge.

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Twiglets1 · 06/08/2022 06:54

When I’m with friends we either split the bill equally ( for groups who can afford it) or work out how much each person ate/drunk (if someone is on a budget) and they add 10% or whatever the service charge is.
It’s weird for your friend to only pay £10 on the food ( because that’s all she had) but to then be expected to pay £7 on service. Her service charge should have been £1 or £2

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Breconhelen · 06/08/2022 06:57

I really don't understand why you all didn't pay your share and the appropriate percent of the service charge. It almost always shows the percentage the charge is calculated at and if not its easy to work out. She could have then chosen to chuck in a bit extra if she had wanted to.

That's the way we do it and it's only fair.

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Hollychristmasjoy · 06/08/2022 07:12

Breconhelen · 06/08/2022 06:57

I really don't understand why you all didn't pay your share and the appropriate percent of the service charge. It almost always shows the percentage the charge is calculated at and if not its easy to work out. She could have then chosen to chuck in a bit extra if she had wanted to.

That's the way we do it and it's only fair.

Because it seems really extreme to start splitting a Tip by %.

The waiter still had to bring her a menu, collect a menu, bring her tap water, bring her an additional bottle of tap water (they were fairly small), bring her 2 cocktails (yes they were free but she still drank them), collect both glasses, bring her main, collect her empty plate.

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GretaVanFleet · 06/08/2022 07:19

I’m torn, £7 is a huge tip if your bill is £10. But if my bill generally was under £20 for meal out I’d be ok with it. I think I would have realised that £7pp was a lot to leave and I’m quite a generous tipper so I would have asked for the service charge to be removed and everyone leave what they felt appropriate.

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Hollychristmasjoy · 06/08/2022 07:21

WishIWasOnHolidayAgain · 06/08/2022 01:08

I am close friends with 3 other girls. In the past we have gone out for expensive meals, had nice holidays, all buy each other lovely gifts etc. If you asked any of them they'd say I'm not struggling financially but they would be wrong. I've tried to keep up but feel like I'm drowning now and it's very depressing. So in this situation I'd have hated to be put on the spot to pay the extra. Also a teetotal vegetarian so have in the past just happily split.
Things change for people @Hollychristmasjoy

I’m sorry you don’t feel able to talk to your friends openly but I know for a fact my friend has more money now then she did a year or 2 ago. She’s just always been a bit like this.

Its actually friend 1 who is struggling for money and ordered 2 cocktails not realising they were £13 each.

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drawacircleroundit · 06/08/2022 07:25

Sorry, OP - I feel really sorry for your friends who were (I think obviously) trying to keep their bills down.
It would have soured the day for them a bit, I think. I’d want to clear the air, but then I do pathologically over-think things. I’d even go so far as to send a text: “Been thinking about the mad tips we paid and realised that your bill was actually really low - let me take you for coffee to make up for it”.

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