You've probably been in the situation when you were out to dinner with friends or business colleagues, and they ordered every expensive item on the menu while you were sticking to a salad during the lunch or dinner. Is it OK to ask for separate checks?
The answer is complicated. Our research shows that etiquette experts disagree on whether it's appropriate to split a check in social and business situations.
While the etiquette jury is still out on whether or not it’s acceptable to ask for separate checks, etiquette experts agree on one thing: let it be known as soon as possible. How soon? "As soon as you sit down" -- said Kathryn Vasel (FoxBusiness.com) in her latest article "Dining Out Etiquette: Rules of Splitting the Check."
While I agree with Kathryn and other experts, I would like to point out some additional tips one should always follow when dining out with friends or associates.
- Do not initiate a dining invitation if you're not prepared to pay for the meal.
- Do order the same number of dishes as your partner, friend, or a colleague.
- Don't ask for a "doggy bag to go" -- it's tacky.
- If you are picking up a bill -- pay it promptly, don't let it linger. It makes people uncomfortable.
- Do leave a 15%-20% tip when dining out.
- Don't ask to share a dessert -- even if your colleague's plate looks better than yours. If you want to split a dessert, ask your waiter to pre-plate it in the kitchen.
- Don't ever leak your fingers no matter how deleicious your dessert is!
- Don't ever use a toothpick at the dining table. Remember it was a dental tool in the 20th century. If you feel an urgent need to to get a piece of food out of your mouth, please do it in the privacy of the restroom.