I don’t know what’s going on lately, but I have now come across TWO different places that want to charge me for splitting the check. I totally meant to bring it up the first time I caught it – a few months back while vacationing out in Delaware – but if your responses today are anything like it was when I tweeted about it (“WTF??” “NO way!!!”) I’m hoping it’s enough to curb the trend that may or may not be coming our way ;) I don’t think I could deal with any more nonsense when it comes to those group-paying bills – they’re already a ruckus!
Seriously, if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s 10 people sitting around a table trying to pay off their tab. Especially when you have one or two “Let’s just split it evenly” friends in the mix – it drives me loco!! And they’re usually the ones how eat/drink more than the others too! Haha… You know who those are. I’m totally for even-splits with close friends or in smaller dinner groups (4 or less), but once you get into the 1/2 dozens or more it becomes a mess. Which is why I prefer to always ask for separate checks from the moment I sit down – it does no harm, and you’re totally left out of the group mentality at the end. When everyone wants to tip differently, and 3/4 forget about the taxes they need to pay. I genuinely feel bad for waiters/waitresses, I can’t imagine the mess we put them through.
But back to the these new $2.00 charges — why charge them in the first place? And even more so, are they per “split,” or per group? Cuz that’s a pretty penny if you’ve got 5-6 people all wanting separate tabs. And there was no way I was gonna try it myself when I was there ;) But if I take my angry goggles off for a second, I’m pretty sure I could speculate as to why they’re initiating these charges in the first place. Whether I agree with them or not. Here are 3 reasons:
- It’s annoying for a waiter/waitress to split the check 7 ways. So in an attempt to prevent it from happening (and to save more time) they mandate a “convenience fee” figuring it would at least bring in additional revenue if they’re gonna be forced to make the customers happy in that way. And with a few large groups a night, it may even cover the base salary of the wait staff.
- It costs the restaurant money every time they swipe your card. A very true fact, for sure. Certainly not $2.00 a swipe, but I suppose if you’re gonna charge it up, you might as well ask for more than the 20 cents or so they’re getting dinged. At the very least it would help more w/ getting you not to do it in the first place, like mentioned above.
- The restaurant is a mom and pop shop. Which means the money it costs them per swipe, AND the extra time it takes their wait staff to put up w/ these large groups, matters a crazy amount more than your average restaurant chain. And in both of my recent experiences w/ these notices, each of the places WERE local shops. And probably the darlings of the towns, which may be the reasoning for these extra charges too – the fact that more people would overlook it and continue wanting to support them?
That’s what I think anyways, what about you guys? Any other reasons they could be charging? Whether their rationalizations are valid or not, though, it can obviously piss people off at the same time (*ahem*). Something I’m sure they’ve thought about, and probably tested, before even implementing them. Here are two other ways it could certainly backfire:
- The odds of larger groups ever coming back could get lower. I can tell you I’d never bring one there, or even attend one for that matter, whether I enjoyed the food (and company) or not.
- The odds they come off as greedy/petty can become pretty high. The first thing that came through my mind before “Oooh that would make for an awesome blog post!” was, “Are you f’ing kidding me? You’re not gonna steal my $2.00!” Now obviously 5 seconds later I started putting myself in their shoes and asking myself why they’d do something crazy like that, but not every customer’s gonna put in the extra thought. No matter what the reasoning is behind it.
I can’t tell WHAT these restaurants want us to do at the end of the day (split the check more so they can get paid more, or NOT do it cuz we’re scared of the extra fees?), but either way it makes for quite the juicy financial gossip ;) And luckily in both my experiences I never needed to split the checks anyways – I just contemplated what I would have done if put in that situation (sucked it up and paid as a group). I don’t think I could part with $2.00 for something I feel should be free. To me it all goes w/ the territory of owning and operating a restaurant.
What do you think about this? Are you okay with paying $2.00 extra for this “convenience?”
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!