Recently, three colleagues and I dropped by a bustling restaurant for a sumptuous lunch. After digging into western cuisine ranging from fish and chips to grilled chicken sandwiches, it came time to settle the bill.
Five minutes of awkward faux-shuffling for wallets ensued, and I decided to break the silence by suggesting that we go Dutch. Person A then said that we should split the bill equally amongst us four. Person B talked about how money is the root of all evil. Person C was in the bathroom.
We eventually agreed to split the bill evenly, seeing how our meals were approximately similar in cost.
Eating out with your colleagues at a restaurant can be fun and relaxing, that is until the bill arrives. So how do you handle this tricky situation without compromising the relationship between you and your subordinates?
Lunch with coworkers
If you own a credit card, offer to charge the bill in your name first and collect the receipt. This eliminates any fuss of counting notes and coins at the table, and you can also collect credit card reward points which you can redeem prizes with later on. Once you're back at the office, draft an email listing down the cost of each meal and/or drink (or allocate who ate what if your memory serves you well) so that your colleagues can pay you back anytime during the week.
Supposing that the group is more comfortable with splitting the bill evenly, the individual who had a few drinks or ordered a more expensive dish than the rest should genially cover service charges and GST. Don't be too disconcerted if you ordered a $7 Caesar salad while your colleague indulged in a ribeye steak worth $25 - you can always order an exquisitely expensive dish with the group next time and request for a bill split!
The boss' treat
If your boss is taking you out for lunch, it is safe to assume that he or she is picking up the tab. While you should still be polite and suggest that the bill be split, try not to be contentious - simply express your appreciation and gratitude for the meal. Bon appetit!
An appreciation lunch
A lunch treat can be a token of appreciation to the colleague who has been constantly helping you out at work. However, if you don't always want to treat the person, highlight that the next lunch will be split amongst the two of you but in the meantime, you will be paying for this celebratory feast.
Lunch with mentor or potential reference
When offering to take a mentor or potential reference out for a meal, it is expected that you'll be the one paying as you have more to gain from the meeting.
How else can you settle the restaurant bill with your colleagues? Share with us in the comment box below!
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