How Do You Share Your Restaurant Bills?

It always seems to be awkward an awkward moment when you come to discuss who’s paying at the end of a meal in a restaurant – usually, you have a mixture of people who are willing to split the bill evenly, along with those who know they’re going to be worse off doing that, who’d rather pay only for what they ate.

Lifehacker points to an interesting article (if a little too full of maths theory for this casual reader) on this subject at MindYourDecisions, where several options for splitting the bill are discussed:

  1. Split the bill evenly
  2. Pay for only what you ordered.
  3. Ask the waitress to give everyone seperate bills.
  4. Collect an amout in advance of the meal.
  5. Organise the costs by email.

In a Lifehacker poll, unsurprisingly there is a pretty even split between those who do option 1 and 2 above, although according to MindYourDecisions, this has mathematically been proved to be an inefficient way of doing it.

Whilst there’s probably ultimately no right or wrong way to split the bill, I think the key is for everyone to agree before the meal.

Several of the comments mention BillMonk – a website for keeping track of who owes what to whom – I haven’t used it myself, but it sounds like a simple idea.

One thought on “How Do You Share Your Restaurant Bills?

  1. 6. Total the bill, add a tip, and split evenly. That is, if friends are more important than the modulus for a few dollars/euros/pounds.

    7. Use to handle repeated gatherings.

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