HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Any polite way to ask, "How much did you leave on your credit card" at a restaurant?

While, when I'm taken out to eat, I'd love to know how much tip is left, it's one thing I have no control over. But, I went out w/ some friends yesterday and all but one person left cash. She took the cash and put the whole bill on her credit card which is fine. All of us at the table have done that at some point. The rest of us eat out occasionally and we're all big tippers. She never counted how much money she collected, just assumed we'd all put in the right amount. She's not the type to intentionally cheat anyone but after she signed her tab, I wondered if she tipped enough, including what we all ("over") tipped. I'm wondering, for the future, if there's any way to ask how much she left?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. No, there's no socially acceptable way to ask. It's not your credit card, so it's none-a-yer-bizwax. And the very question implies that you think she's a) not capable of the mental gymnastics to figure an appropriate tip, b) lacking in the social graces to attempt a), or c) all of the above. None of which you really want to imply with someone with whom you want to continue a civil relationship.

    If you're worried about it, then offer to leave the tip separately. If she refuses, let it drop.

    8 Replies
    1. re: sunshine842

      Yes and no. If we leave, say an extra $10 in tips and she ends up with the money and not the server, then it is our business. But, as I said she wouldn't do it intentionally. I think leaving the tip in cash is the way to go. I like to do that anyway.

      1. re: chowser

        then pull out the cash for the tip and set that aside, then hand her the rest, making some comment about it being easier for the server if it's not on the credit card slip.

        If she wouldn't intentionally short the server, then you have to trust that she didn't.

        But the fact that you're raising the question indicates that you pretty seriously doubt that she tipped the appropriate amount.

        1. re: sunshine842

          Geez. I really hafta start finishing the thread before replying.

          1. re: sunshine842

            Sorry I didn't see this reply. I trust her and don't think she'd intentionally cheat anyone. What I'm wondering is if she left what we did, since it might not be her norm (or the norm). In my case, my meal came to just over $10 and I left $15 because it's what I had in cash and didn't want to have to deal w/ getting change. I know another friend of mine did the same. So, that's far more than someone might assume would be left and she didn't count what she was given. I'm not questioning her integrity. I just want to make sure the server received what was left for her.

            1. re: sunshine842

              "then pull out the cash for the tip and set that aside, then hand her the rest"

              now that's brill.......................bravo!

            2. re: chowser

              agree with chowser, my husband always likes to leave the tip in cash and not put it on a card, don't know why but that's his thing and I respect it.
              how about when you and another couple go out and they say, you get the tip, we'll pay the bill.
              then you gotta ask how much was the bill so you know how much to tip, embarrassing............there's gotta be a better way

              1. re: iL Divo

                As far as tipping in cash and not on the credit card . . . some establishments do not pay out the emplyees on the credit pay except every two weeks or even a month. With the low pay (like $2 and change per hour) some places, then the nightly cash can be critical for paying bills. Paying in cash means the person gets money earned on the spot. I don't work in the business, but I do have family and students who honestly need the cash for gas and food and not two weeks later.

                1. re: iL Divo

                  Your husband does that because by doing so the server receives the full intended tip at the time of the transaction instead of being taxed on it and then re-taxed by having the tip amount added to their total sales amount, which is where tax is figured.

            3. If she "never counted how much money she collected" and "just assumed" you'd all put in the right amount AND paid the bill with her credit card, she sounds very generous and trusting. A person like that deserves your trust, too.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Isolda

                Yes, she's very trusting and a wonderful person. The thing is, we tip close to 30% since it's just a cheap lunch, and she's not from this country. So, she might think a 10% tip is generous, and even if not, the tip we left is higher than the standard 15%. I definitely do not want to hurt her feelings which is why I asked if there was a way around it.

                1. re: chowser

                  30% tip? sheesh, was that for show, or were you really "serviced" over, above and beyond?!!!

                  1. re: BiscuitBoy

                    Lunch is cheap. The difference between 20% and 30% is minimal and rather than dealing with change, we round up,usually to whatever bills we might have so if I was going to leave just under $14, including tip, I'll leave $15. It's never for show; it's more about a great server getting what she should. It's not like we waive the tip in the air to show off.

                    1. re: chowser

                      Sunshine842's suggestion is a good one - pull cash out for the tip and let her charge the check.

                  2. re: chowser

                    Now I get it. It's definitely true that in countries where servers are salaried and paid a decent wage, people don't tip much. And it's a hard habit to break. I remember being mortified when a British friend who had been in the US for at least a decade left $2 on a $100 tab. She seriously couldn't get her mind around the idea that tipping at least 15% is de rigueur here.

                  3. re: Isolda

                    I think chowser is wondering if that person tipped also, no? < the person who collected the cash and put it on her credit card.

                    I BTW hate to do that because I always have the money spent that I collected for said meal, way before the bill comes, not like I put it away for when it's time to pay the bill right?

                  4. Definitely not something you can ask her about, but you can still try to find out in other ways. 1) You could sneak back in after everyone else has left the table under the guise of forgetting something. Take a quick look at the check and add more if needed. If the server already has the slip, you could ask to see it, to make sure the tip is ok. A professional server might simply say she is sure it is fine, but it kind of IS your business. You all helped pay the bill, so the amount of tip should reflect that. It's not as if she was treating you all to dinner.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: hilltowner

                      Thanks--that's an idea. The thing I don't want is the server not to get what we left her.

                      I'm wondering if next time, I take the money, say we'll leave the tip in cash and then have her, if she's using a credit card, just put the amount of the check on it. I wasn't thinking that much when it happened. It was something that occurred to me after the fact.

                    2. Chowser I really feel your pain... There is no way you can ask with out it causing awkwardness .. I go out with a group of friends about once a month , and I often feel the same way.. I pitch in a generous amount for my food and a tip... However I am starting to realize I am just donating to the pocket or belly of the card holder... ..

                      Seperate checks if possible really to work well, I use to be against them for years...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Augie6

                        Thanks. This group of us have gone out for a few years and over the years, I've nudged their tips upwards w/out saying anything. They've kind of followed my lead. But, this person is new. And, she's a very nice person and would never intentionally pocket the difference which makes all the difference to me. I do like separate checks--once a server brought us (another group of friends) them w/out asking. It was great.

                      2. This happens to me with a couple of groups pretty regularly. The easiest way is to act as second pair of eyes for the credit card person. Collect the cash, add it up, then announce, bill is $200, We've got $250 after you put in the $XX+X for tip you said for your part. Looks like we're good with the bill and leaving a $50 tip.

                        This works out with minimal hassle all the way around as we're all usually pretty conscious of not stiffing each other or the server. Sometimes when we end up with an overly large final amount, we just redistribute a couple of dollars back to each other until the overall amount is more in line for desired tip left.

                        Of course this only works if everyone is honest, which they are in our groups. If you can't trust the person with the cc, then no way around it regardless. People in my circles, the math challenged ones are more than happy to receive the help if they're using their credit card for the whole bill. It really helps that no one in my circles wants to stiff each other or the server.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Jase

                          Smart. Yes, everyone, luckily, in this group is honest and we usually end up w/ a lot of extra money. She's a nice person and I completely trust her not to do anything that would cheat anyone. I just wasn't sure she had the same standards of tipping the rest of us do--not to say that she has to tip the way we do, just that if we leave extra, it should go to the server,

                          1. re: chowser

                            Lucky for you then. Honest and nice people won't take offense at this approach. They've got nothing to hide and if the tone is one of assistance, people are usually happy to accept. It sets a nicer tone for the whole group too since everyone leaves the table without the nagging worry that the server got stiffed.

                            1. re: chowser

                              Many years ago I sat next to the credit card payer. He was a young friend of a friend I had never met before. I watched him leave next to no tip in my favorite restaurant after I had tipped generously in cash. I called him on it, he argued, i told him he didn't have to tip for himself but he was damn well leaving what the rest of the group had already paid in cash. He grudgingly did, and ihe never rode w/ our group again. There were some big eyes around the table while this transpired ;-)

                              I'm not shy, so that was easy for me since that restaurant meant a lot more to me than some kid I didn't know, but if it were a friend...oooh....I think you'd just have to suck it up up and cross your fingers.

                              1. re: danna

                                I'll sometimes say in this situation: "Oh, I really liked this server, so I put in a bit extra for the tip... just want to make sure it gets accounted for on the credit card slip."

                                That usually opens up the floor to discussion of what the credit card payer is putting down for the tip, and gives a chance for everyone to adjust their expectations (or contributions) accordingly. If I don't think the tip I'm intending to go to the server actually is, I'd then suggest my cash tip come back out of the payer's pocket and be left on the table. But I also don't mind rocking the boat a bit.

                                1. re: danna

                                  I was actually in a similar situation as yours a few years ago -- except that this guy took the bill and proclaimed that everybody owed him $20 more than it should have been. Sixteen people at the table -- excluding him and his wife, he would have probably pocketed an extra $280 -- probably more as I'd bet he would have left hardly any tip). I told him that I thought the bill was too high for what we had ordered. A couple of other guys took the bill from him and made their calculations. We all ended up paying $20 less than his initial estimate, which still ended up with the servers getting close to a 30% tip. Trying to keep it simple (didn't want to deal with small bills), we just told him to give it all to the servers. I have a feeling that he pocketed the extra money himself and gave the servers a lousy tip. I wish I could have seen the bill! So glad that I never saw his face again!

                            2. don't ask, but verbally state what you think the tip should be

                              1. Try asking "How much did we leave for a tip? Because I think he/she did such a great job, I'd like to add a little more." And then be prepared to whip out another buck or two.

                                But your friend apears pretty trusting (never counted how much cash she collected) so I'd trust her on this one.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: 512window

                                  Nice. Yeah, as I've said, I trust her completely to leave what she feels is right but since she's not from this country, don't know what she thinks is right. And, I know she'd feel bad if she knew she ended up taking more than her share.

                                  I'm editing to comment on suggestions that I recommend how much to tip the amount on the tip. The thing is, I don't dictate or want to dictate what others tip. I put down what I want and others do the same. If she wants to tip 10% or whatever on her part, that's her business, not mine. What's happened for me, is that I've added more than my friends think I need and they try to give it back to me. My response is along your lines, "I think she did a great job" and I leave it at that. I've never tried to convince the others to leave more. They just gradually started doing it. If the restaurant is empty, which it almost always is, we sit there for longer than a lunch should be.

                                2. about the best you could do would be to say to the general group that you think a xx percent tip would be about right. hopefully at least one person will either agree or even raise your bid.

                                  the idea that it is none of your business because it is someone else's credit card isn't exactly true. it may be their card, but it is being covered by your money. letting t he new person know, in a gentle way, that this is seen as a group transaction may even make them feel better and take off some pressure.

                                  1. If you are going to train and nudge your friends up to overtipping (and feel good about that) and stress about how much a new friend tipped when out with the group (and one you say is trustworthy), then I think it would be a good idea to get indvidual checks or for you to be in charge of the bill and just tell everyone how much they need to hand you to settle the bill.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: CyndiA

                                      I don't really care how she tips on her portion. But, if she's collecting everyone else's money and putting down 10% (as I said she's not from this country) then she's pocketing money that goes to the server. Knowing her, she'd feel really bad about that, too, if she knew. As "overtipping" goes, as I said above, for a cheap lunch, it's not a huge amount difference between 20 and 30%, really a matter of change. Rather than leaving say $13.95, or $14.50 we'll throw in $15. It's no biggie and I never said I feel good about it, just that we've all started doing it.

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        Your quote below does suggest that you do care about and watch closely what others tip.

                                        "Thanks. This group of us have gone out for a few years and over the years, I've nudged their tips upwards w/out saying anything. They've kind of followed my lead."

                                        1. re: CyndiA

                                          Noticing and caring are two different things. Though, in hindsight that quote wasn't well written. I shouldn't have said I "nudged" their tips upwards. I tip what I want and when they told me I tipped too much, I told them it's because the server did a great job. They've followed my lead. I never actively did anything to suggest that they tip more which "nudged" suggests and I would never comment on what others leave. I'm not as controlling as you seem to think. I just want to make sure the server gets what she was given by the rest of us.

                                          1. re: chowser

                                            no, i agree with Cyndi, I think you are trying to zoom yourself. It is obviously an important issue to you, and that conflicts with your inability to do anything about it.

                                            Either let it go or take responsibility for your own portion of the bill. Or do what the vast majority of us do, and talk about it as a group.

                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                              " It is obviously an important issue to you, and that conflicts with your inability to do anything about it."

                                              Definitely. I care about the server getting what everyone left her. I wanted suggestions (and received a lot of good ideas) on what to do in the future. But, I don't care what she or others have left as a tip for their portion so in that respect I took responsibility for my own portion. I care about the server getting what she was left; I notice what others have tipped (though that's not true here either because I only know my friend sitting next to me left the same as I did $15 and we ordered the same things which came to just over $10); I don't care what the others have tipped. Honestly, this isn't keeping me up at night and the only reason I'm even remembering it is this thread keeps popping back up.

                                              Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone. They were helpful. I'm not controlling in that I want people to leave a certain tip, I don't wave a flag bragging about how much we leave, I don't think my friend is dishonest or would cheat anyone intentionally (and that's a big point because in no means do I question her integrity). Between my friend next to me and me, that's close to $9 that should have gone to the server, not $1.50 if the person left even 15% and that's a big difference. And, I know my friend who paid w/ her cc would feel bad if she knew that. I think that about sums it up. Next time, I think I'll suggest we leave the tip in cash, the credit card payer can put the meal on her card and that'll be that.

                                              1. re: chowser

                                                excellent idea, and your friend will get a visual of what might be considered an appropriate tip.

                                                (few threads in here stay completely on target, sorry if we - I - jumped all over you)

                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                  Thanks. It was partially my fault. I could have been more clear and used better word choices. This is a new friend who's just moved to the area and I want her to feel welcome most of all.

                                            2. re: chowser

                                              I never mentioned "control." That's in your first sentence of the post - "While, when I'm taken out to eat, I'd love to know how much tip is left, it's one thing I have no control over." I just suggested that you get separate checks or coordinate the money.

                                              While you said that you (and your friends) tend to round up from 20% to 30%, you also stated that the meal was a little over $10, and you left a $5 tip (which is close to 50%). The new friend likely would not expect the tip to be in the 50% range.

                                              You're concerned that your new friend who used the credit card tipped around 10%, because she is from another country, but you later mention 15%. "Between my friend next to me and me, that's close to $9 that should have gone to the server, not $1.50 if the person left even 15% and that's a big difference." You said your friend ate the same meal and left the same amount of money. That would be two $10 meals = $20 with close to $10 as far as the tip money left. At 15%, it would be $3 on the two meals (not $1.50).

                                              It's just hard to follow the story when the numbers and percentages change from post to post.

                                              1. re: CyndiA

                                                Sorry, I had not planned to get into details but it seemed to be necessary. In general, we tip about 20-30% but it depends on the situation, as I am assuming, is the case for most people. The person next to me and I added a lot more this time because our lunches were cheap but I don't know what others left. I assumed it was what they normally tip which is 20-30%. The question I had was just how, in the future, to avoid the situation.

                                      2. I rarely, if ever, carry cash -- and certainly almost never enough cash to pay for a decent meal.

                                        So I am usu. the person who charges the entire the bill, and collects the cash from everyone else.

                                        That said, the ONLY time I will do this is when every one just splits the bill evenly (e.g. Total divided by number of people).

                                        Won't do it if we are each trying to figure out our "own" amount of the total bill.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          I have different groups of friends and we do both--divide it and figure it out. This group figures it out because it can add up over time. Drinkers' tabs will always be much higher. Adding what you think you owe only works out when you know the group well.

                                        2. There is a way to find out. Ask the server.

                                          1. Perhaps commenting on how good the service was, and then asking if that person felt the same way, would have gotten you close, but without positive figures.

                                            I do, as that person did, and never count the $. I am a medium-high to high tipper. Unless I have made a horrible mis-calculation (I round up and tip on the wine and even the tax), the server probably does better from me, than most folk in the group.

                                            If dining partner A asked the above question, with the statement on the lead-in, I would gladly comment, "yes, the service was great, and that is why I left 25% on top of everything."

                                            Just my reflection on the matter.


                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                              You have to count the money. This may be distasteful to you, but it is the only way to be sure that everyone's money goes where it's supposed to go. Everyone seems to be praising chowser's friend for her trusting behavior, because for all she knew, the rest of the group might have "underpaid" (intentionally or accidentally). But in this particular case it seems like everyone else "overpaid", hence chowser's well-founded concern.

                                              What you're saying is "Hey, I don't mind taking the risk and paying a bit more". This only works if you can be sure, without a doubt, every time, that you're a better tipper than the rest of the table. But for all you know, everyone else might have tipped 50% on their share of the bill, for whatever reason, as chowser did. If you just pocket the cash and tip your usual, generous 25-30%, you are unwittingly taking money from your friends and from the server.

                                              You can't know unless you count the money. If it comes up short, you can decide to say something or quietly make up the difference. But if there's more than you expected, then either someone made a mistake or the rest of the table is even more generous than you are. Whatever the case may be, that extra cash shouldn't end up in your pocket.

                                              chowser, I realize that this doesn't directly address your question. But the point is that seeing the credit card slip wouldn't have been enough in your situation. You also need to know how much cash there was. Even in a regular group of friends, where everyone trusts everyone, everyone tips about the same, and everything evens out in the long run… there's always the possibility of somebody making an honest mistake, and leaving too much or too little. It doesn't hurt to double check, and that's an appropriate moment to decide on the tip collectively.

                                              1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                This is a good point. I have blips when I put more/less than I want. When we get chatting, we can miscalculate. If we leave cash, someone will take the initiative and count. If it's credit, the person usually does. I've actually spnt more time thinking about this here, than IRL. I didn't think about it at the time, only after the fact. But, counting is the smart idea; not because of trustworthiness, as you said, but that we all make mistakes.

                                                1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                  Oh, I have been around "counters." Some go so far as to put the money into little piles and ask each person exactly how much they put into their pile.

                                                  I happen to ascribe to the words of Kenny Rogers, "never count your money, when you're sitting at the table." When it's all said and done, I have never had an overage. Were I to find that later (my tipping standards usually preclude the likelihood of that happening), I would drop by and hand it over to the waiter on another night.

                                                  That is just me, and I am not meaning to argue your points. In life, one adopts what works for them.


                                                  1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                    Yep and you can always choose to be blunt and upfront from the get go by picking it up and counting it. Say the receipt is $127.39 total.
                                                    Someone picks it up and counts and they find $135.00
                                                    Honest mistake or not honest mistake who knows but now it's out in the open and everyone should account for how much they put in individually. Jinny pit in $12.75 there includes her $2 tip) and so on. That's the only way anyone finds out before its too late if someone's futzin around and only then will mire be added.
                                                    Conversely if Penny picks it up, charges her credit card and doesn't count, all could have tipped 23% and say Penny added 15% tip to her charge, she's made out.
                                                    No one should be so naive to think that neither occurs.

                                                      1. re: iL Divo

                                                        i really want to argue with Divo, but he is right. we have one friend who "knew we all tipped too much" so never put a tip, and frequently shorted their share because it was a duty to make sure the servers didn't get that large a tip. We don't invite that person along very often any more. The numbskull never noticed we all chipped in enough to cover the stinginess.

                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan


                                                          "I really want to argue with Divo, but he is right."

                                                          Wondering if that's a typo like many of mine are so often.
                                                          Hope you meant you didn't want to argue with me but in case I'm wrong
                                                          it's ok we can agree to disagree.
                                                          And not that it's important but I'm female. il Divo is a singing group
                                                          I follow they are indeed all males.

                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                            my apologies iL Divo.

                                                            I was agreeing that "no one should be so naive...." I used to be that naive, not any more.

                                                            (ps: i once worked with/for someone that would go out with the gang, we would all chip in our fair share, he collected the cash, then put it on his credit card. what none of us knew is the next day he would turn it in to accounting as a business expense and get reimbursed.) Yes, he finally got caught - another drama involving a jr. accountant who he should not have made advances on - last i heard the jerk was in another state still looking for a job)

                                                  2. My personal take is that perhaps being new to the group, she doesn't feel comfortable counting and questioning everyone's contribution. And not knowing the differences in culture, she may have been willing to take the hit if it were a group of people who not always tip well.

                                                    Just my thoughts after reading the thread and responses.

                                                    1. i'm always amazed at people's fear of direct conversation, especially with people you classify as friends. IF you have a question of a friend - ask. if asking ruins the friendship it wasn't really one anyway

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: thew

                                                        ...well said thew but no one likes to be the cause or effect of confrontation.

                                                        1. re: thew

                                                          The word "friend" is often used generically. For instance, when the person is more than an acquaintance, but not someone you would take a bullet for.

                                                          Most of us have tons of people like this in our lives. Whether or not this person in Chowsers story fits this description, I don't know.

                                                          Also, there are some lovely people out there who would not do well being confronted, in certain ways, in a public setting like that. They might perceive it as a public "dress-down".

                                                          Whether or not you might appreciate someone with, say, thin skin like that is another issue, but there are many out there like that, and they have "friends".

                                                          1. re: DougRisk

                                                            confronted? your weighting the language to support your conclusion.

                                                            "hey, I gave 20% on my share, how much did you give overall?" is hardly confrontational

                                                            1. re: thew

                                                              My bad.

                                                              "i'm always amazed at people's fear of direct conversation,"

                                                              I had initially read "conversation" as "confrontation".

                                                              Mea culpa.

                                                              1. re: DougRisk

                                                                ........and I looked at this post and the first thing I saw was

                                                                "bad news" < not > my bad

                                                                so we all see things differently, like many of us would or could assume that confrontation may have become a part of this situation.
                                                                I'm uncomfortable with this and I'd have not done well being in the group.
                                                                to have to ask or inquire had the potential of being awkward and no fun.

                                                                Similar occurrence:
                                                                A work friend of mine asked me to go with her to have lunch in Manhattan with her very well to do aunt. They were not familiar family members, didn't know each other real well but we were in the area so they'd put the luncheon date together. She wanted me there as a buffer of sorts. fine with me. I ordered pasta Bolognese and when returning from the rest room, I stopped at the bar got a glass of wine paid cash for it on the spot then took it to the table. The bill came, auntie had ordered lobster with extra's too and a bottle of wine, girlfriend had gotten a prix fix lunch of steak [and] my pasta which was $24. No bread, no salad, no nothing other than my pasta did I receive. The aunt said we'll split the bill 3 ways. My friend looked like a deer in headlights at the mention of that but said nothing. I wasn't going to get sucked into this and spoke out > that we had a new tax man which was true and that he has informed my husband and I that we must keep receipts for all our deductible expenditures regarding work, which was true. I asked for my receipt and cashed out with the bill + my portion of the tip.
                                                                Girlfriend got stuck paying for her aunts portion but was absolutely flabbergasted at how the aunt had come up with the bill paying procedure. She was thrilled that I stood my ground for my portion and apologized for the lunch debacle.

                                                        2. There's no reason it all has to go on the card. When you divvy up the bill and everyone puts in the cash and the one person doesn't have any cash...just say "your share is $x, have the server put $x on the card and we'll leave the rest in cash." If the person protests you could always say it's easier that way or that the restaurant/server would rather have the cash or whatever...

                                                          11 Replies
                                                          1. re: akq

                                                            unless, of course, your friend needs to have the cash for whatever reason...

                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                              They can go to the bank. There's no requirement that friends supply cash advance or ATM services at lunch. Reminds me of the scene from Reality Bites with the gas card... :)

                                                              1. re: akq

                                                                I have no idea what Reality Bites is, nor what might have happened with the gas card.

                                                                I've been out for a meal many times when we all reached for purses and wallets, and someone realized that their spouse or their kids had raided their wallet for lunch money -- or they thought they had x dollars, but that have x/2 dollars. It happens.

                                                                There's no requirement, but sometimes just putting it on your card is easier than getting up, leaving the restaurant, going to find an ATM and coming back to have the server glaring at you for delaying their table turn, and holding up an entire table full of people.

                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                  It's a movie. Character gets cut off except the parents agree to keep paying for the gas card, so she stands at the gas pumps and pays for people's gas on the card, taking their cash.

                                                                  I am not sure what your point is - obviously this happens and if it's cool with the people who are paying cash, then great. But there is no reason they'd have to go along with a fellow diner taking all the cash and putting the entire thing on the card.

                                                                  There are lots of ways for a group to pay%3

                                                                  1. all in cash, 2. all on one credit card, 3. all on separate credit cards, 4. some on credit card(s), some in cash.

                                                                  My point is that instead of one person taking everyone else's cash and putting the ENTIRE check on her credit card, there's no reason the restaurant can't run the person's credit card for only her share of the bill, and take the cash for the rest of the bill. If there are questions about the person taking the cash not leaving an acceptable tip and pocketing the extra cash (which is the entire point of the thread), having the person instead pay only her share of the bill on the card and paying the rest in cash is one way to deal with it. Sheesh. No one is entitled to take my cash other than the restaurant, unless I allow it. My coworkers do this all the time - "put $15 on the card, and here's cash for the rest."

                                                                  I've heard of restaurants that don't want to run multiple credit cards, but never one that wouldn't take cash for some or most of the check and one credit card for a portion (assuming they take credit cards).

                                                                  1. re: akq

                                                                    I don't understand why someone paying cash would have a problem w/ someone taking the money and putting it on their card, as long as they put the correct amount on it.

                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                      Your question was how to handle it when your fellow diner takes all the cash and you aren't sure if she is tipping appropriately. You could always ask her, but if you don't want to do that...then an easy way to avoid it is NOT have her put the entire thing on her card.

                                                                      s for why someone might not like having someone put the whole thing on their card - who knows. Some restaurants discount for cash, some people think it's rude to make the restaurant pay the credit card fees, some people like to give the server the option to hide the full amount of her tips from the IRS, make sure the credit card person doesn't get stuck paying more than her fair share, people need to ask for change in cash...and some people want to be sure about how much the server actually gets tipped at least on their own share of the bill.

                                                                      Example: 5 people go out for lunch. Each person's share is approximately $12.50, plus 20% tip for total of $15. including tip (total bill is $62.50 without tip). 4 of them have only $20 bills, and the 5th has no cash, only a card. What to do?

                                                                      1. Have 4 people each put in $20 which the 5th person takes, puts the bill on her card and pockets the extra cash? If the credit card payer only pays $62.50 on the card (no tip), she's totally stiffed the server, didn't pay anything for her meal and pocketed an extra $17.50! Even if she does put the tip on the card ($75 total), she hasn't paid anything for her meal, and pocketed an extra $5.

                                                                      2. Ask the restaurant to break one of the $20 bills into 4 $5 bills, give each of the 4 cash payers a $5 change, let the 5th person take the rest of the cash ($60) and put the whole check on her credit card? Again...how much does the person put on her card? If you don't trust her, you have no idea... what if she only decides to tip 10% on the whole bill ($68.75). Then she's only paid $8.75 for her share when she should have paid twice that!

                                                                      3. Have the restaurant put $12.50 on the credit card (to pay for the 5 person's share and let her decide how much to tip on her portion) and give the server the 4 $20 to cover the rest of the tab, requesting 4 $5 bills for change? That way you know that each of the 4 people paid $15 for their meal, including a 20% tip on their shares. At worst, even if the credit card payer doesn't tip at all, the server gets a $10 tip (16% on the whole tab) which is better than nothing...

                                                                      My point is...3 is a viable option and the only one that really protects you from your original concern without actually confronting the person.

                                                                      1. re: akq

                                                                        I'm just wondering, if I go out w/ a friend and the tab is,say $30 and I leave $15 in cash and my friend leaves $30 on her credit card and takes the cash, why it would bother me, or anyone else. I know the iterations on how the bill can be paid. There have been times when we're all short of cash and leave our portion on our cc but also realize it's a pain for the server so try not to do that. If we all are short on small bills. one will usually take a large bill to the cashier and ask for change, or ask the server for change.

                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                          The server has to enter some amount to charge on the card into the CC machine. Why on earth would it be more of a pain to type 1500 than 3

                                                                          onto the machine? I guess the server would have to put the $15 in the cash drawer, but she'd probably have to do that with the CC slip anyway, right? And, obviously, if you are asking for change anyway, then it's really not any more work for the server to just run the card for that person's share and take cash for the rest...

                                                                          Maybe I am missing something but your entire question was based on a situation where you didn't trust that the person actually left an adequate tip on the credit card. If you do trust the person to take your cash and leave the right amount on the card, great, do that!

                                                                          ...but then your question is moot. If you don't trust them, or for whatever reason you don't want to do it that way...this is another option. If you recognize it's an option and refuse to do it (and also refuse to actually ask the person using the CC how much she is tipping), that's your deal. I was just trying to help. sheesh.

                                                                          1. re: akq

                                                                            Not at all. I have said repeatedly that I trust this person. But, I've also said we had a lot more tip than expected and she didn't count it to see. However, this lead to your assertion that it was wrong for someone to take the cash and put the whole amount on the credit card. I asked why, if the amount was correct. Maybe that person did need cash but why does it matter? It's not about how much the server entered but that it's completely irrelevant to me whether my friend took the cash and put the entire amount on the credit card or not.

                                                                            " No one is entitled to take my cash other than the restaurant, unless I allow it."

                                                                            Why would you not allow your friend to do so?

                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                              I think we are essentially in agreement.

                                                                              I never said it was wrong for someone to take the cash and put it on the credit card, only that they don't have a *right* to do so if the person with the cash objects. The only time I can think of ever objected to something like that is with a large group of people I don't know (and don't know how well they tip, etc.) who had been drinking and I wanted to be sure that at least my portion of the bill is paid and the server gets a good tip from me.

                                                                              It could also go the other way - if someone wants to use their credit card but doesn't want to put the entire thing on the card for whatever reason, that's their perogative as well, right? If I have lunch with a group and they all have cash and I don't and I don't want their cash (because I'll spend it, or I'll be surprised when I look at my CC statement and wonder what the $300 lunch was for or I am close to my visa limit or whatever), I can just ask the server to put a specific dollar amount on my card for my share and everyone else can pay the rest in cash.

                                                          2. Last night went out to dinner with my wine group. Been going with this group for over 20 years. This time it was 9 people. One person received the bill, did the math, and told us what the per person cost was, that is what we paid. Never entered anyone's mind to look at bill. One person took our cash and paid the whole bill at the total of 9 x whatever, did not seem to be an issue,

                                                            16 Replies
                                                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                              I've been there, and in the grand scheme of life, so long as the bill is paid, and the server(s) is/are taken good care of, life is good for me.

                                                              Some folk get very hung up on the bill, and I have seen some mathematical calculations that would rival the Space Shuttle's trajectory calculation - take off the tax, add 10% for all drinks, and 15% for the food items only...

                                                              As I am not a CPA, nor an employee of the US IRS, I just make sure that the bill gets paid, and the server gets their share, and just do not bother. In a group, I either pick up the bill on my card, or ask the one, who is doing so, "what do I owe," and will often comment on how good the service has been - if it has, to influence the payer a bit. I have more to worry about.


                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                Well said. And if someone wants to calculate (I had one drink, he had two) be my guest. You calculate. Just tell me how much I owe, and if the tip is included or not.

                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                  Hunt,, I could not of agree any more. I have seen people calculate to a point it just gives me a headache.

                                                                  The only time I ever had an issue with a bill-- Group of 6 and I threw in double what I owed (recently hit lottery ticket felt flush) and the bill was still short. Needless to say I do not go out with those people anymore

                                                                  1. re: Augie6

                                                                    Ouch, that hurts! I've seen many more major shortages, than overages in all my years. That is one reason why I often use MY credit card. I just cover for the shortages, and figure that is my price for the "company."

                                                                    Had one similar instance to what DPGood commented on. We went on a ski trip many years ago. The group was about 12, and some had traveled with others in that group. At a pre-trip party, many warned me of one person, who happened to not have made that party. He was a very heavy drinker, and usually ordered serious liquors, and many of them - many more than all others. He'd then grab the bill, calculate everyone's "share," split by the number of diners. He would then stiff the waitsaff, as he always found issues there.

                                                                    Well, he had actually dated my wife, many years before, and was now a very successful attorney, and married. At the info from the group, I just grinned, and took it all in. I'd never met him, and he'd never met me. We were the "new kids on the block" for this group, though knew many of them from other walks of life.

                                                                    On the first evening, we all dined together. I pulled the server aside, and asked him to give me the bill. He did, and I sorted through it. That gentleman was apoplectic at not being able to pay by credit card, calculate things to suit his tastes in liquors and then pocket the tip. I went down the list, and uncharacteristically calculated, explaining who had what. I asked for the amounts, including a very nice tip. All were quick to pay, except for him. He fumed that his 6 Single Malt Scotch whiskeys should not be divided amongst all the diners, plus sputtered that the service was not THAT good. Everyone else, including his wife, supported me.

                                                                    I did the same thing for 13 nights, and he complained vociferously every night. All others just winked and thanked me.

                                                                    I cannot say that his anti-tipping, and soak the group for his alcohol, plus an extra app. and dessert, concepts changed, but he did not get a chance to do that, for the entire ski trip.

                                                                    I think that was the ONLY time that I ever calculated diner's portions of a bill. For all the rest, I just cover any shortage, and tip well, then am done with the whole thing.

                                                                    BTW - congratulations on the lottery!


                                                                      1. re: CyndiA

                                                                        wow. i must lead a sheltered life. i do not get duplicity like that, even in a noble cause. if i felt the tip was too low, id throw in a couple more bucks. no sneaking required

                                                                      2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                        Who invited this person? How did he react that way EVERY night? Didn't his friend, the one that invited him, say anything to him?

                                                                        1. re: DougRisk

                                                                          Well, seems that he was a close friend of one of the couples in the group, and everyone had just tolerated his behavior on early ski trips. I do not know how much communication might have gone on before, but at the pre-trip party, everyone was warning us of his tactics, so discussion did not seem to have yielded results.

                                                                          For about four nights, he just pouted. After that, he seemed to have gotten over things, but there was a side-story on the slopes, so maybe his mind was elsewhere?


                                                                        2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                          I *am* a CPA, and I have to say I love that story! I can't stand a cheat.

                                                                          That's why I have to admit to being a "counter"...I'm determined not to have anyone else pay for part of my meal, I don't care if they don't mind it or not.

                                                                          1. re: danna

                                                                            I understand completely. Though I was once a civil engineer, things were a bit different. I could have crunched the numbers, but the other side of my brain always takes over. Even my wife, who graduated from Wharton in Business and has a Masters in Finance, is even less a "counter," than I am. Go figure. Thought that was why we sent her to school? [Grin] She does all the strategic financial planning in the family, but has not reconciled the check book in about 40 years - when we were married.

                                                                            My CPA is a "counter," and God bless him for that.


                                                                            1. re: danna

                                                                              I'm fortunate to go to lunch rather often through the year.  An old High school friend, out of state cousin, x next door neighbor, x boss, one of our kids' friends' parents etc.

                                                                              I'm with Bill Hunt in I am grateful for the company.

                                                                               More times than not I grab the bill & tip... all goes on my credit. Admittedly if I'm with a man friend I ask them to fill out the tip portion on receipt as that's hubbys job usually and he's an excellent tipper.
                                                                               It  always comes out in the wash and you can't put a price tag on great conversation.

                                                                              It must be pretty much straight across the board that having someone special to dine with is enjoyable but lets face it, no one likes to be duped.

                                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                "Admittedly if I'm with a man friend I ask them to fill out the tip portion on receipt "

                                                                                You will ask the male at the table to fill in the tip when you're paying?

                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                  no chowser
                                                                                  I'm paying the whole bill (meal&tip) he's just writing the tip amount down for me on my credit card bill. my husband does that for me when I treat us to dinner . . .
                                                                                  he takes the receipt fills in the tip amount (always an ample tipper) then has me sign it.
                                                                                  when I'm alone dining I look at the tax amount and depending on where I am and the tax structure there I double or triple the tax and that's the tip if that makes sense.

                                                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                    Do you ever ask women companions to do this?
                                                                                    If not, why?

                                                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                      But, you said if you were with a man friend, you'd ask them to fill out the tip portion of your receipt. I'm trying to understand why a man would be better suited for that that you, the hostess, or another female friend.

                                                                                      " if I'm with a man friend I ask them to fill out the tip portion on receipt"

                                                                      3. I have a friend who is a lousy tipper who always takes my cash and puts the whole thing on his card, I'm pretty sure the server is getting screwed.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: redfish62

                                                                          I have a friend like that. If he wants to put the bill on his card, I ALWAYS say "Okay, let's leave the tip in cash. Would you let me see it so I can figure out what 20% of the bill is?" And then I leave the tip in cash.

                                                                        2. This is what we do.
                                                                          Someone who is good with math gets the bill, calculates each person's portion including the tip and if someone wants to pay the whole thing with credit card, she simply pays the whole calculated amount and rest gives her portion of the money.

                                                                          1. I love this love this lively discussion

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                                              I'm just surprised at all the tangents it has taken, even after the issue was resolved. Interesting. I'm eating out w/ 25 women, most I haven't met before. We'll see how it goes!

                                                                            2. No, it's not polite to ask, "politely" or otherwise.