Tuesday, May 17, 2022 May 17, 2022
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Food Fight!

Somebody Help This Poor Girl: How Do You Split a Restaurant Check Equally

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How do you split a large bill in a restaurant?
How do you split the bill?

From D Magazine‘s assistant managing editor, Krista Nightengale.

SideDishers: I need your help. Or at least your advice. I went to Rhode Island this week for the City and Regional Magazine Association’s annual conference. Since I was a bit of a loner (no one else from D was able to join me), I invited myself along to dinner with a big group of people and we went to Hemenway’s.

It’s a gorgeous seafood grill and oyster bar. It had a dark, romantic feel to it. My only complaint about the atmosphere was that there was a fan directly above us that was hanging over a light, thus creating this obnoxious rotating shadow on the menus. Also, the air conditioning was out (but it was in Providence where the average temp was in the low 70s this past weekend, so we didn’t even notice).

Her problem starts below.

As the party of 18 settled into its chairs, wine and appetizers were ordered all around. I refrained for two reasons: 1. I don’t drink; 2. I wasn’t hungry enough for an appetizer. The average price of an entrée was $25. Not a horrible price point.
The food came, and it was okay. I thought since I was in Rhode Island, the seafood I ordered would be the best I’d ever had. My salmon was dry and had hardly any seasoning. The best part of the plate was the fresh green beans on the side.

Then came the awkward part: the bill. So while 13 members of the group kept ordering bottle after bottle of wine (I’d say there had to be at least 10 bottles ordered), the five non-drinkers  wondered how this would play out.

One of the guys in the group (I’m still not entirely certain who he was), got up and said, “I’ve figured it out! We’ll just take the total, add the gratuity, and split it evenly 18 ways.” My bill, which would’ve been around $27, ended up being $60.
I paid. There were too many people to try to adjust the bill, it was late, and I didn’t want to be that girl who caused all the problems.

What would you have done, wise SideDishers? Paid or had it adjusted?