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Apr 22, 2007 02:45 PM

What Constitutes a Split or Shared Order?

I always assumed that a split or a shared order meant when two (or more) people at the table elect to order one entree instead of two. And (based on that assumed definition) I'm not going to quibble with being charged some sort of a fee for that - I understand some of the logic behind a restaurant's decision to charge that sum.

But last night (we were out of town) we went to a mid-to-low-range pizza/pasta place. It was clearly stated on the menu that there was a charge for split orders. No problem. There were two of us - we ordered an appetizer (to share - always have assumed that appetizers are for sharing), a sausage sandwich (also to share), and a large pizza (also to share) - also a caraft of wine and a soda. To my count that's an app. and two entrees, plus the wine and soda, for two adults - a decent order.

We were brought two plates for the appetizer (in addition to the serving platter) - when the sandwich arrived we asked for an extra plate (since the app. plates had been removed) - then the pizza arrived with a stack (7!) of plates.

Food was fine (though not 'Hound-worthy) and service was prompt and friendly. But then the bill arrived and we were charge $7.50 for "sharing." When we asked our server about the charge, we were told that it was because we'd asked for an extra plate for the sandwich. I was pretty livid, but my dining companion (who's a lot more cool-headed) asked to speak to the manager - long-story short, the extra fee was removed from the bill but we were told that it's the owner's policy to charge extra for any extra "service items." (Which doesn't explain the stack of plates for the pizza, which I assume have to be washed before being used again for service.) Anyway, the fee was removed, the server got a 20% tip (we had no problems with the service), and the manager said something to the effect that she'd speak to the owner's about changing the policy but that, in the meantime, we'd know better for next time. There won't be a next time for us.

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  1. That just seems wrong - I'd have been livid too.

    I go the by the same assumption you make - a split order is when two or more parties share a single entree, and require service items and service for two while only spending as much as one diner.

    I suppose by the strictist of technicalities, you did split the sub -- but it shouldn't have been an issue to bring another plate for it when they were already bringing you excess plates for the pizza.

    1. It sounds like their bad - seeing that order I would have assumed that one person was ordering the sandwich and the other the pizza, so they should have delivered the pizza and the sandwich at the same time and then plates wouldn't have been an issue! I would have been livid too...

      2 Replies
      1. re: Kajikit

        Agree completely. Also, is it me, or is 7.50 a bit steep for a pizza joint?!

        1. re: enbell

          7.50 split charge is way steep, in my experience. even at the expensive places we eat here (50+ per person), I've never seen a split charge higher then 5 dollars, and 2 to 3 is normal.

          Of course, this is the Midwest, where reasonable is our middle name.

      2. I always figure that if the number of diners at the table is equal to the number of entrees ordered, then there shouldn't be a split charge even if there are extra plates involved. Also, things like pizza are meant to be shared imho, unless you're at a slice place.

        It gets a little stickier with kids - I know very small children often don't eat enough to warrant getting them an entire meal. But once they're past about the age of 4 or 5, they should get a meal of their own (even if it is just an appetizer) rather than just sharing with a parent.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jnstarla

          Even if the number of people at the table exceeds the number of entrees ordered, if the majority are kids at the table, I really believe the split plate charges ought to be overlooked. That scenario is different than a couple adults trying to 'beat the system."

        2. I always thought sharing charges were unfair. If a solo diner comes in, do they charge him for two? If two ppl only order cheap appets, do they charge entree prices?

          In your case it would be cheaper to order a half boloney sandwich than pay sharing charge of $7.50.

          1. OK - I wonder if this is a trend now (I was the one who posted the other "sharing fee" post). I've never had an issue with a "split order fee." To me, that means the kitchen will split the one order into two, probably with similar garnishments on both plates. It doesn't mean charging a patron for tasting each other's meals when they've both ordered an entree! I'll post in a couple of days regarding my other thread once I speak with the manager. While checking out the restaurant's comments on yelp, it sounds like the manager doesn't care about feedback, but I'm still going to call him.

            1 Reply
            1. re: boltnut55

              "I'll post in a couple of days regarding my other thread once I speak with the manager. While checking out the restaurant's comments on yelp, it sounds like the manager doesn't care about feedback, but I'm still going to call him."
              Thanks boltnut - was wondering if you had spoken to the manager in your other thread. Perhaps speak to the owner of the restaurant as well, if you can figure out who it is?