Black Immigrant Daily News
Whether it’s a birthday, Christmas or other celebratory lime, it’s always a challenge when it’s time to settle the bill.
Splitting the bill also comes with its own challenges as some may order steak, while others might simply have a sandwich, leaving some diners unhappy.
Alternatively, you can just pay for what you’ve had to eat and/or drink, calculating extra for a tip and taxes, however, this can become a long-winded process with the bill sometimes (a lot of the times) coming up short.
Here are some tips for planning, and attending, group limes at restaurants and other places for dining if you’d like to stick to your budget:
1. Ask about separate bills
For the organiser of the lime, choose a restaurant that can facilitate separate bills for your guests. It’s best to call ahead and specify the number in your party, ask if they’ll allow separate tabs, and let your guests know beforehand.
If you’re a guest who’s been invited to a dinner, call ahead to the restaurant and ask them if they’ll allow for separate tabs. If yes, then you’re all set.
Another, much more organised method involves someone paying the entire dinner bill and each diner sending their individual payments to her/him whether via bank transfer, PayPal, cash, or another method. This method may be easier for the restaurant but more costly for the person paying.
Remember to put something aside for the tip!
2. When organising a dinner, ask about a prix fixe menu
Sometimes it’s better to have a prix fixe menu, that is, a set menu with a fixed price. This way, all your guests can gauge how much their dinner will cost. Ask restaurants if they can facilitate a prix fixe menu; sometimes there are several options with cheaper costs.
If not, try to choose a restaurant that has a website or other online menu where your guests can see the meals on offer to decide what’s best for their budget.
3. Watch out for dine and dashers
There may be some of your party who might turn up, order food, and then leave early, conveniently forgetting to pay their part of the bill. Having separate tabs can help solve this, however, sometimes it’s just best to make a note of the person and leave them out of your next gathering.
4. Calculate extra for the birthday boy/girl
If it’s someone’s birthday or a special occasion, calculate an additional amount to pay for their bill. This could be done by calculating what an average plate would cost and allocating some of that for their bill, including tax and tips.
5. No matter what you’ve budgeted, expect to spend extra
Dining out is expensive no matter how you look at it, so if you really can’t afford it this month, simply let your friend know you have a strict budget and that as much as you’d like to attend, you have to bow out. You can probably find another, less expensive way to make it up to them, whether it’s just grabbing coffee or a lunch meet-up.
Alternatively, you can let everyone know at dinner that you’re on a budget and will only be paying for what you’ve eaten along with drinks.
Otherwise, when calculating your average spend for the dinner, always allocate an extra percentage for unseen events (see dine and dash guests above).
How do you manage group dinners? Let us know in the comments.