Real Life

Consumer: Splitting restaurant bills

Kevin Milne looks at the ins and outs of splitting a restaurant bill.
Restaurant bill

You and a friend went to lunch at a classy restaurant. At the end of the meal, you agreed to split the bill down the middle. But when you went to pay, the manager told you, “We don’t split bills.” This meant you had to pay the whole bill yourself, then both drive to the nearest cash machine so that your friend could withdraw cash to pay her share. Why couldn’t the restaurant split the bill?

I suspect that the “classy” restaurant is losing touch. I have no problem with restaurants refusing to work out what each person in a large party owes at busy times, but this should be made clear to diners on arrival. In terms of you and your friend, how long does it take to divide a bill in two and take payments from two different credit cards? And surely any costs are minimal. I wouldn’t mind if the restaurant charged a small fee to cover costs where more than one card was being used to pay for one meal. But to simply refuse to split the bill and cause you all that inconvenience – not good enough. I’d make my feelings known on the way out, and as that would probably take some of the gloss off the occasion, maybe never return.

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Do you have  a question for  Kevin? Email [email protected] (Subject line: Consumer) or post to: NZWW, Bauer Media, Private Bag 92512, Auckland 1036.


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