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guajolote

Waiter, split that check

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f your waiter grumbles when you and your friends ask to pay

separately, tell them you have scientific evidence for why it is in

their interest

Psychologists have found that when it comes to tips, the smaller the

bill, the bigger the percentage paid.

Leonard Green and colleagues at Washington University in St Louis,

Missouri, studied 1000 gratuities at restaurants, hair salons and

cab companies, and found that tips dropped as a percentage as bills

went up. So a $10 bill might win a waiter a 20 per cent tip, while a

$50 tab might only return 15 per cent. The fact that the tip was not

a fixed percentage runs contrary to the predictions of microeconomic

theory (Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, vol 10, p 381).

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that's interesting...i wonder if those are the same people who (as KarenS posted on another thread) ordered three bowls of soup with ten spoons?!

it is possible that people might tip a little more when they split the check, but more than likely if they are the same morons who split every course 5 ways during dinner, they're going to split hairs over how much the tip is :wacko:

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The tip might be better, but we have to pay per Credit Card Transaction, so me as an owner loose out.

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The staff at my old job used to joke all time that the difficult customers should have to work in a busy restaurant at least once in their lives.....maybe, just maybe, they would be different.

One thing, though, non-difficult pleasant people definitely make dealing with that one difficult guest worth it.

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Another server had this situation the other night: eight women, eight separate checks. I've noticed this frequently with tables of women over the past seventeen years. What is the deal?

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I think the main reason that there's so much cheque splitting these days is that everyone is using plastic and that makes for more complex transactions. It certainly takes much longer than everyone dumping in their respective paper. I know that when I'm part of a group that's divvying up everything onto respective debit cards, I increase the tip in an attempt to offset the inconvenience. It's probably not worth it to the server though.

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I think the main reason that there's so much cheque splitting these days is that everyone is using plastic and that makes for more complex transactions. It certainly takes much longer than everyone dumping in their respective paper.  I know that when I'm part of a group that's divvying up everything onto respective debit cards, I increase the tip in an attempt to offset the inconvenience.  It's probably not worth it to the server though.

It also seems that an increasing number of lunches and dinners are on company time and the company dime, and some companies require that everything be put on plastic, as opposed to reimbursing cash expenditures.


Sherri A. Jackson

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The tip might be better, but we have to pay per Credit Card Transaction, so me as an owner loose out.

Isn't the charge a percentage plus a small base charge? I assume with a reasonable-sized check, the base charge is basically lost in the noise and you're paying a percentage of the check.

Bruce

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Another server had this situation the other night: eight women, eight separate checks.  I've noticed this frequently with tables of women over the past seventeen years.  What is the deal?
how much extra "work" is it to split a check, say, 2 ways down the middle? :unsure:

Hmmm.

It seems down the middle would be half the work, all other things being equal. Not that I'd guess those eight women were asking for eight equal checks. :laugh:

Life's unfair enough without having to guess who's going to post what just before you hit the "Add Reply" button. :biggrin:


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I know that when I'm part of a group that's divvying up everything onto respective debit cards, I increase the tip in an attempt to offset the inconvenience.

Why doesn't one person pay the whole thing on his/her card and have everyone reimburse him/her with cash? That's what groups including me do when we don't simply pay the whole thing in cash. Are you sharing $200/person meals in the above situations?


Michael aka "Pan

 

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The tip might be better, but we have to pay per Credit Card Transaction, so me as an owner loose out.

Isn't the charge a percentage plus a small base charge? I assume with a reasonable-sized check, the base charge is basically lost in the noise and you're paying a percentage of the check.

Bruce

It’s the base charge that kills the profit. If each transaction is subject to a $0.14 fee plus 1.2% of the transaction it would be in the owners interest not to split checks. An oversimplification but…


Living hard will take its toll...

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I get that it's the base charge that matters. My question is: how much is that base charge? My impression is that it was low enough not to really matter.

Bruce

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I know that when I'm part of a group that's divvying up everything onto respective debit cards, I increase the tip in an attempt to offset the inconvenience.

Why doesn't one person pay the whole thing on his/her card and have everyone reimburse him/her with cash? That's what groups including me do when we don't simply pay the whole thing in cash. Are you sharing $200/person meals in the above situations?

because it's easier to put it on a credit card. i rarely pay cash for meals.

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Tommy, I have to say that asking for a check to be split 8 ways for 8 credit cards really does seem like a pain in the ass to the restaurant. I wouldn't say that they shouldn't do it when asked to, though. It seems to me that that's part of the built-in hassle of owning or/and running a restaurant. But it struck me that when you say it's easier to pay for a bill with a credit card - implying, I figure, in the context of my question, that it's also easier to pay with 8 credit cards instead of one credit card with the other diners using cash to reimburse the payer - my immediate thought was that it's easier for you and a big hassle for the restaurant. Perhaps I'm wrong, though, and it really isn't much of a hassle at all.

I noticed that in Europe, credit cards are used even more than in the U.S., and they bring out those card reading machines. Are the checks split x-number of ways frequently in France or Italy (for example), or is there normally a single payer?


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Tommy, I have to say that asking for a check to be split 8 ways for 8 credit cards really does seem like a pain in the ass to the restaurant. I wouldn't say that they shouldn't do it when asked to, though. It seems to me that that's part of the built-in hassle of owning or/and running a restaurant. But it struck me that when you say it's easier to pay for a bill with a credit card - implying, I figure, in the context of my question, that it's also easier to pay with 8 credit cards instead of one credit card with the other diners using cash to reimburse the payer - my immediate thought was that it's easier for you and a big hassle for the restaurant. Perhaps I'm wrong, though, and it really isn't much of a hassle at all.

I noticed that in Europe, credit cards are used even more than in the U.S., and they bring out those card reading machines. Are the checks split x-number of ways frequently in France or Italy (for example), or is there normally a single payer?

i don't do 8. i'll do 2. sometimes 3 or 4. to suggest that it's somehow bizarre or inappropriate that people ask for the tab to be split on credits seems naive to me. but, of course, whatever i say, you seem disagree with. so be it.


Edited by tommy (log)

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Life's unfair enough without having to guess who's going to post what just before you hit the "Add Reply" button.  :biggrin:

but sometimes you know exactly what they'll post right *after* you hit "add reply". i suppose there's something to be said for being consistent and predictable. :rolleyes:

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I know that when I'm part of a group that's divvying up everything onto respective debit cards, I increase the tip in an attempt to offset the inconvenience.

Why doesn't one person pay the whole thing on his/her card and have everyone reimburse him/her with cash? That's what groups including me do when we don't simply pay the whole thing in cash. Are you sharing $200/person meals in the above situations?

It would really simplify things if a few people in every social group just got vendor credit accounts and could let their friends pay them back with a credit card. :cool:

The question that's still in my mind is whether or not the 8 women split the bill evenly or asked for separate itemized checks.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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The question that's still in my mind is whether or not the 8 women split the bill evenly or asked for separate itemized checks.

indeed this is an exercise in "what if's".

assuming those nice ladies had each bill itemized, would it be reasonable to suggest that this is an exception rather than the rule?

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That so called scientific evidence is "BS". I've investigated this for years professionally and we had one conclusion. Every printed menu advised Patrons that we do not provide seperate "Checks", in clear readable type. This evolved by the actual fact rthat the majority of guests who require seperate checks often with tip less then the average percentage of gratuities. They also waste to much of the severs time, confusing servers as to what they were actually served. Often by the time the billing was sorted out, both the employee and the house invariably get screwed. How is the server supposed to keep track of whom is with whom, when individual dishes are often shared, as well as wines, desserts and drinks. People very often switch seats during the coarse of the meal. We do provide customers with pads, pencils and a calculator if they aren't able to estimate or devide the check to their satisfaction. WE provide the food and beverage together with the best service we are able to make our cusrtomers experience special. What seems to be the problem is that many groups have someone who becomes excessive and over indulges, while on the other extreme is the customers who are trying to keep the costs as low as possable, only ordering as little, or as inexpensive as they can, then resent having to pay more then they had to by being thrifty or cheap. This isn't management or servers problem when it's been clearly stated on the menu. At least it seems that when everyone is aware that this is how it's going to be, most parties enter into the spirit of the meal and work together to enjoy themselves. There have been several occassions when some people request a seperate tables so they don't have to split the check, but very rarely. Irwin


I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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there seem to be two separate discussions brewing here:

1) separate checks

2) splitting a check on a credit card x ways.

confusing the two will be, well, confusing.

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i go out for a deux irregulalry with friends and siblings. some times one treats another, sometimes we halve it. halving is much much better - frequently you can't remember who paid last time or one time is quite frugal another expansive.

once you get into bigger numbers of people there is little choice but to split it multi ways - no one seems to carry (enough) cash and unless one person is paying and collecting from everybody in cash there is little alternative.

as for tipping - i think there is a small element of social competitiveness - if we are all presented with the same open credit card slip, i would be embarrased (unless there was good cause) to be the one who had rounded up least, even if no one else actually found out.

and from the restaurant point of view - either you should be happy having people dining in your restaurant and paying or you should get out of the business. simple.

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there seem to be two separate discussions brewing here:

1) separate checks

2) splitting a check on a credit card x ways.

confusing the two will be, well, confusing.

Tommy,

That's exactly right. Dividing the check evenly among several cards is not difficult. Asking a server to keep track of who had coffee, who drank wine and who didn't becomes pedantic. On a busy night, the waiter has better things to do than play accountant.

Just my opinion.


Mark

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Tommy and Bux-

To avoid any confusion this week, why don't y'all just put my dinners on your cards. I'll pay you back the following week. K? :biggrin:


Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Dividing the check evenly among several cards is not difficult. Asking a server to keep track of who had coffee, who drank wine and who didn't becomes pedantic. On a busy night, the waiter has better things to do than play accountant.

I agree with this.

On occasions where I have to divide checks among several credit cards, I either ask the waiter to divide evenly or give him round numbers to put on each card: "$80 on this card, $50 on this card, and the rest on this card."

It's not ideal, but so few of us carry cash around these days. I think restaurants have to do this sort of thing, and do it with a smile; it's one of the realities of dining out.

Bruce

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