Need new tricks to pick up the tab
Family visits my in-laws every December in Florida. They are very generous and have been over my marriage to their daughter. When we go out with the, DW, daughter and boyfriend I find it's important to pick up the tab. Each year I need to find a new trick to tell the maitre d' that it's my expense, and my FIL tries likewise (not as much recently as he can;t run as fast any more.) I've tried the bathroom at dessert, the call-ahead, the slip the waiter $5 to give me the bill, etc. I am running out of ideas.
Any good ones that have worked for others?
When I want to be absolutely sure, I call ahead and tell them not to bring a check to the table. I can then slip out to the rest room and they will bring the check to me.
For a long time, I used one restaurant for most of my important business meals and they set up a house account for my company. The owner would always make it easy for me to have a private moment with him on the way out and I would give him a percentage to add for the staff.
I always felt that there was a certain grace in entertaining without a check in sight. Many times, I had guests ask the waiter for the check and they would simply say that it had already been paid and he hoped they had enjoyed their meal.
Give the waiter or Maitre D'/Host your credit card sometime during the course of dinner .. the earlier the better - like right after drink orders are taken. Has always worked for me.
A trick I learned from my father who was in the restaurant business.
On the way in I discreetly hand my credit card to the host/hostess and tell them I'm taking care of the bill. But these days with credit card "skimming" that can be a dangerous thing.
if the in-laws take you to one of their regular hangouts you are out of luck, they told the waiter three weeks ago the family is coming, etc. etc.