Do you offer to split the bill evenly among all diners or Should you only pay for what you ordered? If everyone drank but you, should you point out that you shouldn’t be paying towards the tab? It’s a tricky field to navigate and one that can result in awkwardness.
However, we spoke to the dining experts at OpenTable and they revealed some of their tips and tricks for splitting a bill politely.
New research from OpenTable has revealed that two in three (70%) Australian diners have felt out-of-pocket after splitting a bill with friends or family in a restaurant during the past twelve months, spending an extra $5.2 billion to cover the costs of their companions’ food and drinks.
According to OpenTable research, the most frustrating parts of splitting a bill when dining out includes;
- Friends that are fussy about what they did or didn’t have (49%)
- Paying for alcoholic drinks when not drinking themselves (46%)
- Paying for additional side dishes they didn’t have e.g. extra sides, entrees or desserts (45%)
When it comes to bill etiquette, Australians are divided in their opinion as to what represents best practice when it comes to splitting bills at a restaurant.
- 42% of Aussie diners believe that it is best practice to make everyone pay the exact amount for what they had.
- 19% recommend dividing the total bill evenly between all parties regardless of who ate and drank what.
- 16% suggest calculating food and drinks separately before dividing the costs between those that ate and those that drank.
OpenTable’s top three tips to avoid awkward bill splitting
1. Plan ahead
If you’re planning to go out for dinner with family, friends or a date, it is best practice to call ahead and confirm whether or not splitting the bill is allowed.
2. Pick the right place
This can be a little hard if you’re going on a date, but if it’s a casual catch-up dinner with friends or family, pick a restaurant that will suit the budget of all diners by sending a list of 2 or 3 restaurants (at different price points) and have everyone agree to one.
If in doubt, check the website of the restaurant you’re going to and take enough cash to cover what you think you might order, plus a little extra.
3. Take advantage of special offers and set menus, or take turns paying
Don’t discount the value of special offers and set menus when dining out in groups. These initiatives are not only cost effective, but also provide you with an opportunity to check out a new restaurant or trial a unique dish, as well as knowing the cost up-front.
Alternatively, minimise any awkwardness at the end of a meal by taking it in turns to pay when dining out with friends or family members. This method works well for people who dine out together frequently i.e. couples, and conversely is a wonderful way to stay in touch with friends you don’t see very often.
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