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Waiter, split that check

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If your going to a restaurant , before why not arrange how your going to order, pay bills, etc.

i do. and we usually decide to split it on credit cards.

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If your going to a restaurant , before why not arrange how your going to order, pay bills, etc.

Going back to my original post: We did not force the waitress to be a "book keeper" as you put it. We clearly wrote the 4 names and amounts to be charged to each card and the other 5 paid in cash which was presented all at one time.

Furthermore, we do know how we're going to pay before we go. Some people bring enough cash and some people never pay in cash...as long as you pay for what you eat who cares? We go out as a group often and never have we had a problem until that night.

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If your going to a restaurant , before why not arrange how your going to order, pay bills, etc.

Going back to my original post: We did not force the waitress to be a "book keeper" as you put it. We clearly wrote the 4 names and amounts to be charged to each card and the other 5 paid in cash which was presented all at one time.

Furthermore, we do know how we're going to pay before we go. Some people bring enough cash and some people never pay in cash...as long as you pay for what you eat who cares? We go out as a group often and never have we had a problem until that night.

Raynickben: Get real 9 transactions to settle a lousy dinner check for on group? Minimum amount of time tying up server, neglecting other tables is about 15 minutes. I'm sure this will effect the service and tips received from the other tables at the station. DUH !, that's what generally happens when some table pulls this type of deal. Be sure that with jiggiling Charges, Cash, and Tips, with 9 guests, your server can't help but to end up screwed. That's why i've noticed customers whom are enjoying them selves delagate one person to use their credit check. Then he's reimbursed with the cash, or personal checks from the rest of the party. With a party of nine this simple transaction requires 5 credit card charges, with authorization, plus re-authorization after the tips are charged, then waiting for the response. finally closing the check after entering the cash. No matter how you do it your srvers still doing more bookeeping for 9 guests, then for 5 tops of 2 guests, plus the tips and appreciation, with smooth service and customer satisfaction.

I'm also pretty sure that you and your party felt "PUT UPON", for the inconvienience and the wait to close your check. Irwin


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

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irwin, it's called a "service industry" for a reason.

when i'm asked to do extra work, at no extra pay, at my job, i don't jump up and down, stamping my feet, complaining about how put upon i am. i do it. and i work extra hard to then make sure my other duties and responsibilities to other people don't go neglected. i learned a long time ago that if you want to be successful, you gotta take the good with the bad and bite the bullet every now and again.


Edited by tommy (log)

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Irwin: Please read my original post before you go off on me. The only time we felt "put upon" was when after 20 minutes of WATCHING us divide up the check the waitress said she would only take one form of payment. I also noted that neither the waitress nor the menu nor the hostess, etc. told us that this was their policy. You know why they didn't tell us? Because it's not their policy. Also please note in my original post that this was a SLOW Tuesday night for the restaurant. I can guarentee you we were their biggest ticket of the night.

Please read carefully before you comment.

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For a group larger than 6, a gratuity is usually added by the restaurant (often 18%). In these cases, the point is MOOT because obviously the waiter is not getting stiffed. I don't understand the objection to having a waiter put the bill on several credit cards. It's been standard practice for quite some time.


"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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I don't understand the objection to having a waiter put the bill on several credit cards.  It's been standard practice for quite some time.

seems like it's just something to complain about.

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Raynickben/Tommy and others:

I'm quite aware of all the posts reflected on this thread. As with most threads if often drifts away from the original post. Several of us have posted several responses, including myself.

I took into consideration that certain things appear obvious.

With Raynickben, it was appearent management didn't give a damn. Staff was either oblivious, indifferent or following instructions. Again, no attempt appeared to have been made to discuss the situation with whomever was in charge. In your position, with nothing being in writting on the menu, I personally would have done as one of the other posters suggested. My way or no way. If they had any one in charge, they should have appeared, made a exception, and promised to clearify there policy on future menus. Or you could have done, as you did streighten out with everyone, after putting the charge on one credit card. If you had simply divided the $450.00 by the 9 diners it would have adderd up to $50.00 per person, them tipped a additional 10% to total $55.00 per person, paid part in cash, the balance on one credit card it wouldn't have required as you've stated a long time figuring out everyones charges with staff standing around waiting to close the table. Everyone would have been happy, and you would have left in less then 5 minutes. It's possable that management was aware of the whole situation, decided this wasn't going well for them, wanted the money, and wrote of your table for repeat business.

That's not my way. But as i've explained we clearly stated our policy on every menu in large clear type. Where there was a situation similar to yours, we made sure that it was concluded satisfactory, even giving treat bags for being so patient, even though we really expected no one from the group to return, but we felt better. On our menus we stated that with parties of 6 or more a gratuity was to be added to the bill, we also advised that we accepted multiple credit card charges. We also required that every customer order a entee for dinner or would be charged a minimum charge= to our lowest priced entree. Another policy was that all entrees must be ordered before any appetizers as they were served family style shared.

Sometimes there were party's that looked at the menu, then decided to leave. We realized this would occassionaly happen, but there were generally others waiting for their table. Every restaurant that i've been involved in is still in business, doing well. or out of business due to buildings beeing torn down, or leases ending.

My contention as expressed the "Industry in General", is called a service industry. But there are various types of service. It's how every oporator choose to reflect the type of service provided to customers. It's unfortunate, but it has become more important for management to keep employee turnover low, buy backing workers more thene in years past. No longer is the customer always right. When employees understand management will back them insituations where they are right, plus understand their problems in doing their jobs successfully they are more loyal, and work for you longer. In fact many FOH & BOH personel now look at the business as a profession. Any employee like "Tommy", is fantastic, but extremly rare. Everytime i've been fortunate to find anyone with his ethic's or attitude they have been promoted, trained and now work all over the world at the peak of the foodservice profession. Irwin


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

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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?

I know that the situation of women dining together and how they handle the check continues to be joked about, discussed, etc. But I still take offense since in all my years of dining out with women -- and those years are plenty! -- we have never once asked for separate checks, and figuring out exactly how to pay (cash, credit card, splitting, etc.) has never been a problem. I can think of just one occasion when I was with a table of 10 women when the waitress offered to provide separate checks. :shock: We did not turn her down. :biggrin: Last night, I went to dinner with 6 other women. When the check came, we passed it around, each woman totaled the items she ordered, then added the tax and tip. Everyone came with cash, and when the money was counted, we were exactly where we needed to be if only one person had taken care of the bill. I see this as simply the adult way of handling what so many seem to end up making an unnecessarily complicated situation. :smile:

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There are places for People who are more concerened about paying the dining.

They are called "Cafeterias", or "Fast Food", or for more special occassions maybe a chain "Coffee Shop." All expect to provide seperate checks, most are paid, COD, or give you your own ticket. GO THERE.

Restaurants that you go into as a group, to share and enjoy a dining experience, socialize or celebrate a special event. They in order to do a "SATISFACTORY", job trying to coordinate the timing of your meal, with severs spending the dime to expedite and keep things moving along smoothly must pay attention to your group.

There is no way that the Kitchen, Servers or anyone else will be able to do a decent job if they are also expected to be your bookeeper.

This feels like a red herring to me. I don't think anyone is saying that paying is more important than the food. I think people are saying that the food is important, but that paying is a necessary (and acceptable) part of the experience.

I also don't think people are saying that the waitstaff is expected to be anyone's bookkeeper. I think saying: "Figure out who ordered what, and charge everyone's credit card appropriately" is unreasonable. I think saying: "Charge $40 to each of these three credit cards, please

is perfectly reasonable.

Bruce


Edited by Schneier (log)

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I think saying: "Figure out who ordered what, and charge everyone's credit card appropriately" is reasonable.

for clarification, did you mistype?

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I think saying: "Figure out who ordered what, and charge everyone's credit card appropriately" is reasonable.

for clarification, did you mistype?

Oops. Yes. The first was unreasonable, the second was reasonable.

Thanks.

I will edit.

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?

I know that the situation of women dining together and how they handle the check continues to be joked about, discussed, etc. But I still take offense since in all my years of dining out with women -- and those years are plenty! -- we have never once asked for separate checks, and figuring out exactly how to pay (cash, credit card, splitting, etc.) has never been a problem. I can think of just one occasion when I was with a table of 10 women when the waitress offered to provide separate checks. :shock: We did not turn her down. :biggrin: Last night, I went to dinner with 6 other women. When the check came, we passed it around, each woman totaled the items she ordered, then added the tax and tip. Everyone came with cash, and when the money was counted, we were exactly where we needed to be if only one person had taken care of the bill. I see this as simply the adult way of handling what so many seem to end up making an unnecessarily complicated situation. :smile:

Last night I had a table of eight women who did just as you did. And I am considering them for beatification. :biggrin:

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For a group larger than 6, a gratuity is usually added by the restaurant (often 18%).  In these cases, the point is MOOT because obviously the waiter is not getting stiffed.  I don't understand the objection to having a waiter put the bill on several credit cards.  It's been standard practice for quite some time.

It might be Managment does not want to incure the extra transaction cost. Some card systems bill a pecent on top of the tansaction fee. Some are just a percentile of the amount.


Living hard will take its toll...

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It might be Managment does not want to incure the extra transaction cost. Some card systems bill a pecent on top of the tansaction fee. Some are just a percentile of the amount.

This has been suggested earlier. My opinion is that it's one of the costs of doing business, like the cost of someone eating more bread than his share--or accidentally making a mess. If you're not willing to split the check among a group of diners, post that fact prominently at the door. My guess is that the extra transaction fees will be more than worth the extra business.

But that's me; maybe people like dining at a only-one-diner-pays restaurant.

Bruce

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It might be Managment does not want to incure the extra transaction cost. Some card systems bill a pecent on top of the tansaction fee. Some are just a percentile of the amount.

This has been suggested earlier. My opinion is that it's one of the costs of doing business, like the cost of someone eating more bread than his share--or accidentally making a mess. If you're not willing to split the check among a group of diners, post that fact prominently at the door. My guess is that the extra transaction fees will be more than worth the extra business.

But that's me; maybe people like dining at a only-one-diner-pays restaurant.

Bruce

I think it depends on a number of factors. What sort of restaurant it is be it a small place or company chain. How the POS or register is set up along with other bookkeeping and loss prevention factors. I have seen a lot of reasons over the years for not doing it. From both sides of the table and in other business.

While I agree with the reason for the thread that psychologically it might yield more tips. It can throw other problems in some situations. Small operations pay exorbitant fees to take credit cards. I am sure you have seen signs that refer to a Minimum order amount for charges, even though it is against the rules of most card providers to do so. I have seen other places that try and surcharge credit card transactions even though it’s a violation of law to do so. Keeping that in mind dealing with a place that may average less than $15.00 per person including tax (the percentage is charged against the total transaction amount.) It is not in the owner’s interest to take charge cards. I have seen an alternate strategy where a business will put in an ATM unit where they get a cut of the fees and no longer take cards directly. It is not a “cost of business.” Like you suggest so much as a profit margin issue in such cases. Taking charge cards can cost an operation some serious cash. Not only in fees but how quickly the money is available to the merchant. Strangely enough it is not as quick as most people think. In some cases it can be as long as 14 days. Too much float in a business is not good. Especially in a small one.

If you are talking about chains things get a lot murkier. Besides being paranoid most companies like a cookie cutter approach to things in a one size fits all. If the request to split the bill is made when the tab is presented all kinds of red flags go up. Companies do not like transaction voids. The POS may not be set up to handle less than total transactions. In helping to design a system for a large retailer back in 1984 it took some talking to convince them to add this feature to the system. As a electronics store they did not see why anyone would want to pay using more than one method of payment or multiple cards. Just write smaller tickets were the response. This works great on small items but not well on large price systems. Hence they finally agreed to it and it worked well for them.

In a restaurant the same thinking may apply. If you void a large ticket and break it into smaller ones it should work. Maybe all the items don’t make it to the smaller tickets? Maybe a dishonest employee voids tickets and pockets cash out of the transaction. It also can make it hard to balance out the register at the end of the night depending on how the accounting is done. Some systems separate cash, check and charge transactions some just lump aspects together. Cash and checks are one and credit is the other. Or they all may be lumped together. Nothing like hunting for a missing charge slip to balance out a day or person. Without the signed slip there is no way to prove the transaction took place. In truth there may be depending on the system. But if the charge is ever contested a signed slip is always the best protection from chargebacks. Besides any arguments of what is reasonable to do in any situation companies have other ideas and quirks. Some companies have rules that haven’t changed in 20 years even if everything around them has. Card fees are referred to as controllable costs on a P&L statement. Managers and up get paid bonuses based on profitability. This leads to some shortsighted strategies. If labor is a factor have less people do more work. Paper costs too high? Make sure that that take out order has only on napkin per sandwich and hand them out in the dinning room don’t put out dispensers. Make people ask for the condiment packages and than only give them at the most two. Never mind that the savings to food costs will be eaten by the labor of keeping up with requests from frustrated customer. All shortsighted and will drive people away in the long run but everyone from the GM to Div. VP get the bigger bonus check that month, quarter or whatever. One of the metric in use in most of retail is dollar per hour and dollar per transaction. You want both to be as high as possible. People have been fired for doing the exact opposite of what you suggest is “creating more business.” Its called “stacking” voiding out small transactions to re-ring as larger ones. From managements standpoint one $100.00 sale is better than five $20.00 sales. In cash that makes sense but credit cards, we get back to the controlled cost argument. When fewer people eat there letting go a cook or two and some front-end staff will fix that right up. People will have to wait longer for service or food but…

I could go on much longer with the examples but I think I made my basic point. It can be shortsighted not to do some things or do them for reasons that may not make sense to others. Maybe by splitting the table into five $20.00 sales seems like more business but unless they gat a kick for traffic in the unit the only thing Management can hope is it may pay in repeat business. It may or may not. There have been places people go to eat as a group that they would not normally go to for other reasons.

I’m not saying your opinion is wrong but it may be based on some wrong assumptions.


Living hard will take its toll...

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I agree with everything you say. Every business has its risks and costs. Every business has a series of things it needs to do to keep customers.

This is one of them.

Bruce

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The additional credit card discount is so insignificant that I highly doubt that management gives a dang if the tab is put on 1 or 20 credit cards. The problem lies with the servers who are often pressed for time and/or just plain lazy, and the credit card companies' lousy system.

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The additional credit card discount is so insignificant that I highly doubt that management gives a dang if the tab is put on 1 or 20 credit cards.  The problem lies with the servers who are often pressed for time and/or just plain lazy, and the credit card companies' lousy system.

i do love when a voice of reason shows its face. thanks dude. :smile:

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Aside from the annoyance and extra burden to the wait staff, I prefer this choice. First it eliminates the bickering regarding who had what, it allows individuals to tip as they see fit and it also delineates the "I only had one beer and you had three" inequalities. If two people out for dinner had basically same order splitting the tab in half is not an issue, but if one diner opts for a "value" menu choice and the other, a high-priced entre, with additional add-ons and wine pairings, the 50/50 split is no longer equalible. Additionally the tipping issue raises its head. Some people have a fairly in-grained philosophy regarding appropriate tipping levels and separate checks allows the freedom of expression of this philosophy without conflict.

How often does this choice become your choice because of the scenarios mentioned above or do your thoughts revolve around how your choice is perceived by your dinner companions?

p

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True Story:

I was brand new to my job and was sent with a group of other employees to a site visit for the entire workday, about three hours' drive away.  On the way back  we stopped for dinner at a nice steak restaurant.  I was young and on a tight budget, so when we ordered, I opted for the cheapest thing on the menu, a chopped sirloin burger and a glass of tap water.  Others in the group were ordering filet mignons, a few ordered wine.  When the check came, the supervisor simply divided the tab by the number of us at the table, regardless of who ate what.  

 

The next time field trip, when we stopped at the same place I ordered the filet mignon and one of their fanciest desserts.  When the check came, this supervisor (a different supervisor) whipped out his calculator and gave everyone their exact tab based on what they had ordered.  

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We almost always ask for separate checks and rarely are refused.  Generally it is two or three couples in our group.  If a restaurant refuses (rarely) to do separate checks we won't go back there with a group as I feel with modern restaurant software, there is no reason to deny separate checks. 

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We almost always ask for separate checks and rarely are refused.  Generally it is two or three couples in our group.  If a restaurant refuses (rarely) to do separate checks we won't go back there with a group as I feel with modern restaurant software, there is no reason to deny separate checks. 

 

I agree, unless it is a small Mom & Pop type place that is presenting hand written checks, if you see any sort of touch screen type of computer system you should have absolutely no problem getting separate checks.  Ideally servers will have entered each order and assigned the guest s a number and they will have multiple options to break down the check, which are automatically loaded into the computer - split it evenly any number of ways (2, 3, 4, etc) or by guest.  But even if they haven't assigned the items by guest they should be able to break them up pretty easily.  The other thing friends and I do in a group is divvy it up ourselves and write at the top of the check how much to go on each card.  We especially do this if we say two people shared one dish or something funky like that, or if we are splitting cash and charge.

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Separate checks are pretty rare among the New Yorkers I know… in fact I can't remember the last time I was in a party that requested them.

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