Check Splitting Etiquette: The Art of Painlessly Dividing the Bill #hackdining

Check Splitting EtiquetteDining out with a group of friends, going on a date, or having dinner with a few out-of-town relatives should be a joyful occasion. But these memorable meals can descend into a mess of confusion, disproportionate payouts, and hurt feelings when it comes time to split the check. Save the table that collective pain and be thoughtful to your server by following these seven tips for gracefully dividing the bill.

When Someone Treats

If one contingent of the party insists on paying for the meal either upfront or when the check is presented, it’s still good form to offer to cover the tip. Consider it a gesture of thanks and goodwill. The host may turn you down, but at least you’ve made the offer.

Advance Warning

Asking the server to split up the bill at the end of the meal is an inconsiderate, messy move. If you’d like separate checks, request them before anyone has ordered. It will still require the server to do more work, but it will make it easier for them to keep everyone’s various charges separate. Remember, many restaurants cap the maximum number of check splits and some won’t do separate checks at all. (They usually note this one the menu, but, if they don’t, you should ask about their policy at the start of the meal). Call ahead if you’re going to ask to split a check more than four ways to make sure they can accommodate your group.

Elect a Foreman

Someone needs to take control of divvying up the check. Allowing everyone to eyeball the receipt and guestimate what they owe often doesn’t end well. If people under pay and there’s still enough to cover the check, no one will fight to put more money in to ensure the server is tipped appropriately (FYI: if you have a large party that is taking up a lot of your server’s time, you should tip 20 percent or more). So nominate the math major in the party or take on the job yourself to ensure the check splitting goes as smoothly and speedily as possible.

Equality is Easy

The easiest way to split the check is to simply divide it evenly amongst the diners and agree on the percentage tip you’ll each leave. If you’re dining with a group of longtime friends who ate and drank approximately the same meal – everyone had two cocktails and shared a series of small plates – then this is an easy route.

Steak and Wine Vs. Salad and Water

Don’t split the bill equally if one dining companion pointedly ordered a side salad and water, while the rest of you split three bottles of wine and each ordered steaks. Your friend may be on a tight budget but still wanted to see you all, so don’t punish them for coming out. If you’re the diner with a limited budget, make sure you request a separate check at the beginning of the meal so you don’t need to explain your circumstances to the group.Continue Reading

Pay Your Check with OpenTable Mobile: Pilot Payment Program Launches in San Francisco

OT Mobile Payments iPhone Shot  2.6.2014

First, OpenTable made it simple to book a restaurant reservation at any time of day or night with just a few clicks. Now, we’re pleased to announce that it will soon be just as easy to pay for your meal. Rather than waiting for a check or, worse yet, being late for the theater, with the new OpenTable payments feature, you will be able to tap to pay – and be on your way.

OpenTable mobile payments are currently being tested by diners at select restaurants in San Francisco. Over the next few weeks, we will be adding more diners to the test program and will provide you a way to request access. If you receive an email invitation to be part of our pilot program, you can get started by making a reservation at a participating restaurant. Simply add a credit card in the OpenTable iPhone app before your meal and you’ll be able to view and pay your check. There’s no scanning or bar codes involved.

If you’re participating in the pilot program, you will receive an email requesting feedback about the app and your experiences with it. For those of you who are particularly passionate about the app, the experience, or mobile technology in general, we’ll also be offering the option to join us for in-person Q+A discussions at our headquarters in San Francisco.

We thank you for your participation as we bring our payments feature one step closer to a broader launch. Your honesty and insights are not just vital to its refinement – they are greatly appreciated.

Kashyap Deorah is General Manager, Payments at OpenTable

Daily Dining Poll: How Do You Split the Bill?


Daily Dining Poll: Check, Please!