A gentleman asking a woman to dinner for a first date should pay. On the other hand, a woman asking a man to dinner should pay (does this ever happen though?). The guest who's invited should always offer to pay. Date two, a woman should offer again and really try to pay, a gentleman will not let her. Date three, same as date two, if a man agrees to let the woman pay, it's totally fine, he has treated her many times already.
Two couples having dinner should just split the tab, it's the easiest thing. There is always one guy out there who wants to create a little "fun" and sneak to the front of the restaurant and tell the maître d to make s
ure to give him the bill. I don't see the point of this, but it happens a lot. When the bill comes and is placed in front of that guy, the other guy is left shocked. It's a lovely gesture, but now the other guy "owes" him. I think it comes from a generous place, but the problem is, the owing will go back and forth between them for the rest of their lives.
Big groups dining together is tricky. The best scenario here would be for the host to pre-arrange a prix fixe dinner with the restaurant and include that information in the invite. There is nothing worse than going to a big dinner party at a restaurant and having an appetizer and a glass of wine and then being told the amount you owe is $100. Stopping at the ATM before dinner to pick up some cash is always a good idea too, it creates less drama at the end of the night, by not having to give 15 different credit cards to the waiter.
When women are dining together in a larger group of 9 or 10, the host should organize in advance a prix-fixe and include the info in the invite. Women dining together in a group of 6 to 8, should split the whole tab evenly. If there is a woman at the table who has a problem with this set-up, it is probably best to not accept the dinner invite in the first place. Complaining about the bill amount and insisting to pay for only what she ordered, makes her look cheap. Additionally, calculating what each person ordered kills the fun vibe.
Women in a group under 6 should just split it evenly too. Separate tabs work fine in this scenario. Quality restaurants will invest in modern POS systems, that can easily accommodate multiple tabs for one table. I have worked in restaurants in many capacities, so I know a thing or two about service and bill paying, from both points of view. If it doesn't always happen the best way (which it doesn't), it's not the end of world.
-Fabiola Conrado #finedining #casualdining #happyhour