Dining out – Who picks up the check?
Dining out with a group of any kind should be a pleasant experience, and not tainted by the unpleasant discussion of the bill. If this were a simple issue, whoever invites the guests to dinner (the host) should pay the bill. The guests should offer to contribute, but the host will refuse. It is a classic song and dance that is just part of the game.
However, if someone makes a suggestion to a group to go to dinner, the suggesting party is not the “host” and should not be expected to pick up the entire check. Here the group should split the bill equally. Group bills are often a nightmare of “so and so didn’t drink the wine”, or “so and so didn’t share the appetizers” etc. To avoid fussing over the details, be prepared to cut your losses and contribute equally. There is nothing worse than a hot debate over how to ‘fairly’ split a group bill, and there should never be a phone on the table calculating the specifics. That being said, also try not to be that person that orders the most expensive items on the menu. In a group setting, it is best to order comparable items to the rest of the group so when the bill comes it is not a debacle.
In business settings, the host should pick up the tab. The host will be the most senior of the group taking clients or colleagues out to a coffee/lunch/dinner/cocktails etc. Discussion about divvying up expense accounts should be handled at the office, and never in front of clients or other colleagues. Ideally, the host will handle the bill with the waitstaff on the side, or discreetly slip them a credit card so none of this is ever an issue.