By Andrew Knowlton
Dear BA Foodist,
I was dining out for a friend's birthday, and our group was having a great time...until the check arrived. Not everyone had cash, those who didn't drink insisted on paying less, and we ended up splitting the check six ways for different amounts. What's the best way for a large party to split a check?
Cecilia Gladstone, Irvine, California
Unless you're with only one other person (okay, maybe two--I'm feeling generous) or you're 17 years old and out with a group of friends at a local chain, splitting a check is lame. When I was a waiter in Brooklyn, we didn't have one of those fancy computer programs (called a point of service system) that you see waiters touching and tapping nowadays. We did it diner-style--order pad, pencil, calculator. Inevitably during a rush, I'd spend ten minutes per bill adding, subtracting, figuring out the tax, and running credit cards. (Anyone who has ever waited tables knows how just a few minutes can mean the difference between a service from hell or heaven.) So the next time you go out with a group of friends who want to divide the check every which way, be a thoughtful, considerate person and put the whole thing on your credit card. If they're your friends, they'll pay you back. If not, well, then you need new friends.
Photo Credit: Adam McCauley
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