Saturday, March 12, 2011
separate cheques, please!
Now, if a server is organized to the point of anal retention and the POS system (cash register) is set-up perfectly and everyone at the table has ordered for themselves (read: no sharing of wine/salad/etc) then it's easy. Also, if it's quiet in the restaurant, not at a peak time, and your server is organized at all and they have the use of some kind of POS system then it also shouldn't be a big problem even if there are shared items. BUT: when the restaurant is packed there just isn't time!
Imagine it takes only 45 seconds per split cheque (which is pretty quick), multiply that by the number of separate cheques, then add 2 minutes per cheque (to process a credit/debit card or make change). Let's use a table of 10 for easy figuring, say 4 couples and 2 singles. That is 6 cheques right? That means it will take your server a total of 16 and a half minutes to take care of your cheques - who is taking care of the other tables in your server's section? What if there is another table who wants to split their bill?
Would you like to be ignored by your server for 16.5 minutes while the panic rises in your throat that you're not going to make it to the theatre on time! You don't blame the table across the room who is taking up your server's time, you blame your server, hence their disdain towards separate cheques.
Here are some basics if you feel the need to request separate cheques:
A. let your server know ahead of time: don't blindside them when they approach the table with the bill
B. no musical chairs, we don't know your names or faces so we organize you by seat - stay in it!
C. if you want cheques by couple: sit together
D. know what you had but don't nit-pick; if you've shared something with another person at the table who is on a different cheque and you get a larger portion of the cost of that item, just pay for it (the difference of a few dollars - or cents - isn't worth the hassle).
E. we can split items between people (eg. equal parts of 3 bottles of wine split between 5 people) - but please specify in advance.
This might all seem complicated, but if you follow these guidelines, the average server will be able to keep everything moving well - but think for a moment about this: if you don't like the people you are dining with enough to split the cheque evenly, even though there may be a small difference in the price, maybe you shouldn't be sharing a dining experience with them.