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The Bitter Bistro Throughout the Last Decade--Year 2011

I could probably write about this subject every month of every year of every decade--splitting checks!  In 2011 I wrote about how big parties love sharing food and bottles of wine, but then when the check comes, it's up to the server to figure out who ate just one meatball, who drank two glasses of wine, and who owes so-and-so from the last time they went out to eat. 

This was the post.

The biggest scam going around restaurants these days are from the tables that want their check split 9 1/2 different ways. You know who you are. You're at a big table, (that the restaurant had to put together three small tables, to make your big table,) with 10 of your closest friends. Everything was perfect the entire night, then you get the check. Now nobody's close. And of course the comment that always follows, "This was the worst service, ever!"

Nobody wants to pay the check. Because you can't remember what you ate or drank, and you expect the server to keep track of everyone's consumption. (Sweet! All servers have the time to monitor the calorie intake at the table.) So the check gets passed around like a new born baby, but when you see how ugly it is, you make a face, put your payment inside and quickly get it to the next person without having the memory of it burned into your frontal lobes.

Thank God for the friend who also works as a volunteer accountant. This person is always a girl. They are the ones who make sure everybody puts in, and they always speak for the group when explaining the breakdown of the cash, credit cards, and promissory notes. Our country is a trillion dollars in debt, and this woman can decipher the exact amount for each bite taken by each person at the table. This is fantastic, but there is usually one problem, YOU ALWAYS COME UP SHORT!!! And not by a few dollars, more like 75 bucks. So now, when the server has to go back to the table and explain the lack of money for the bill, somehow it has become their fault, and one of your friends has to put in more than they should have, and when everyone leaves and the server finally has the time to close everything out, the person who is shorted at the end is none other than, the server. Of all the money that was thrown in for the bill, you didn't throw in enough for a tip.

Nothing has changed.  Customers are still demanding that checks be split.  It still comes up short, and the server ends up getting less of a tip at the end.  (HeHe, tip at the end!)  But the one thing that has changed is that people have become more and more impatient!  The other night I had to split the check and then I had to run 8 different credit cards.  When I finally made it back to the table to give them the slips to sign, they asked me "where did I run off to?"  I had to run to Trader Joe's before they closed.  Gotta have my Mandarin Orange Chicken!

My other tables thought the same because I had neglected them because of the stupid check that I had to split.  If you see your server running around on a busy night, they have other tables to wait on.  Stop monopolizing my time with things like splitting checks.

Since the majority of customers think it's so easy to split checks, here is the process.  I have to create new checks for however many times I need to split it.  Then I have to highlight every item that needs to be moved and basically cut and paste it over to the new check.  Now I have "X" amount of checks open for one table.  Then I have to run a credit card for each of those.  Sometimes credit cards and cash, which is worse because I definitely get screwed on the tip if it's credit and cash.  (That's because the people who pay with cash don't leave a tip.)  Then I have to print out the slips and place each of those credit card slips in a check presenter--if we have enough, with a pen--if they weren't all stolen from previous customers, and finally run it back to the table full of impatient, annoying, thankless people who now feel the service was bad because of how long they had to wait.  I'm exhausted just writing about it!!!  The entire process of splitting checks and running payments takes the amount of time it takes to watch The Irishman.  Only by the end, no customers will have been "wacked".  The only thing that ends up getting "wacked" is my soul.

Now I simply tell people that I can take four credit cards for the check, but the check WILL NOT BE SPLIT.  I then educate tables on a beautiful piece of technology called, Venmo.  If you don't know what that is, it is a way you can send people money through a secure financial portal.  It's a great way to pay for dinner, drug dealers, and hookers. 

Long story short, not much has changed.       

Until next time... Server's don't pay their rent with compliments.

"Bitter.  Party of 1?  Your table is ready."

The Bitter Bistro
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