To split or not to split?

8 September 2011

At the end of every meal comes the inevitable awkwardness of splitting the bill.

If you’re in a big group of people it’s much easier to just split the amount by the table but this can lead to some people paying much more when they’ve only had a salad, while others who have made their way through three courses and several bottles of wine get quite a good deal.

When you’re the one shelling out for your friends it’s frustrating but so is getting the calculator to work out exactly how much you should be paying and only giving that.

Inevitably, whenever I go out with a big group of friends we always seem to end up short and have to put in more money, which can also be really annoying if you’ve not had much.

The best thing to do is keep track of what you’ve eaten and remember service charge will probably be included. If the discrepancy is between pounds it’s probably more hassle for everyone to pay individually but if someone’s had five courses while you’ve just had one don’t be afraid to speak out.

It’s also tricky when going out for dinner with a date. This is another minefield and everyone seems to have their own views on who should pay.

Is he automatically expected to pay or should you always offer? I’m of the belief that bills should be split in half, whoever you’re dining with, but many people have more traditional views. Ultimately, it depends on the occasion and the guest.

On a recent trip to Berlin, I was very impressed by how the bill was automatically split in two getting rid of any issues as to who pays what. But back in London nine times out of 10 when I’m out it’s automatically expected by most restaurants that the man will pay for everything and is automatically given the card machine to pay.

It all comes down to what you prefer to do and who you’re out with but my advice is to never to expect to be paid for. Always try to keep track of what’s going on in a big group and if you’re going to be left out of pocket don’t be afraid of annoying your fellow diners by asking to pay for what you had.