It’s time we talk about splitting restaurant bills

I’ve got a gripe. This is an issue I’m very passionate about because I’ve lost countless dollars to this cause over the years.

I’m talking about split bills. Or more accurately, the fact that many restaurants and cafés won’t allow split bills.

We all know that person, who forgets about their second coffee, conveniently skips over the beer they’ve ordered, or rounds down to the nearest $5. Therefore, when a restaurant doesn’t allow you to split bills, it’s you who ends up footing the bill for your thrifty friend.


I remember eating out with a group a few years back, and I was the unlucky stooge chipping in my share at the end of the meal. It was $50 short and no-one was fessing up to the missing expenses – so I ended up paying for 6 vodka lemonades I hadn’t even had the pleasure of drinking.

Three weeks ago, I put the whole tab on my card when a restaurant wouldn’t allow split bills for a party of 4. I’m still waiting for my friend to transfer $50 to my account…

And then just this weekend, I chowed down on a delicious brunch at a very popular Broadbeach café. It was incredible tasty and I was very satisfied with my meal. My satisfaction waned, however, when I got to the counter, and was informed that my table of six would have to pay as one.

“Sorry, we don’t do split bills. That’ll be $122.80,” the waitress said chirpily. Groan.

Look, I understand that there is a risk to the restaurant when allowing split bills ­– the risk there may be items left on the bill that no one is claiming.

But couldn’t they allow a middle ground, and let people carve up the bill between the number of patrons?

In our case, that meant splitting the bill six ways, paying $20 and some change each (though this was deeply unfair to one friend who ordered poached eggs and no coffee, and quite the upshot for the other friend who ate eggs benedict with extra bacon and a thickshake).

Even then, this restaurant wouldn’t allow us to pay our $20 contributions in separate transactions.

One table, one bill.

Once again, the patsy with the card paid the bill, amid promises from the rest of us to pay him back.

It’s unfair, and I’m sick of it.

So restaurants of the Gold Coast, I beg of you: please drop the attitude when it comes to split bills, and start allowing customers to pay for what we order!