The Difficulties of Dividing a Check Amongst Friends.

You go out for a nice dinner out with friends.  It is a good time until the check comes.  At this point there can sometimes be resentment.  If someone offers to pick up the whole tab, it tends to be the same people.  If somebody tries to cut corners, it is also usually the same people.  In any large group of friends, there are invariably those who cover more than their fair share and those who cover less.  Lets look at some of the best ways to a restaurant bill with others.

Everyone pay their own share.

This can often seem the most equitable, but it can be unfair to some.  People tend not to include their share of the tip in the calculation.  Perhaps they do not kick in for appetizers they ate.  Perhaps they forget to include drinks.  Regardless when everyone puts their money down it often seems short.  Often leaving one person to cover a larger share.

Even split

With an even split it seems more equitable.  You know what everyone owes.  It is nice and easy.  But then you have people who may not have ordered much.  One person gets a Hamburger and Coke while another gets Champagne and a Steak.  This method has just as good of a chance at being unequal. 

Separate Checks

Separate checks make things nice and easy.  If you know that some people in the group really complain or are extra cheap this is the way to go.  This causes a lot of extra work for the waiter or waitress so should be avoided in large parties unless you know that there will be trouble if you don’t.  Make sure YOU leave a good tip if you do put the wait staff through this.

Take turns pick up whole thing

Assuming you can all afford to pick up a tab, in turn this is a fine method.  Once again, there could be an element of some people trying to scam it a little bit, but generally this method can work out well.  It feels more like you are “giving” something to your friends rather than being forced to cover because one is too cheap.

Know the people you are with.

It all depends on what your friends are like.  If they are all generous, no method will be bad.  If everybody orders close to the same thing, even splits work out great.  If some people are going to spend significantly more separate checks or each paying their own “share” works out best.  It depends more on your group than it does on a particular right answer to the question of which method is best.