Restaurants See Economy's Effect on Bills

Newest craze is splitting the check, to servers' annoyance
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2009 4:34 PM CST
If you went with water, and your brother downed a bottle of Merlot, chances are that in this economy you wouldn't simply split the bill in half.   (©allaboutgeorge)
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(Newser) – Gone are the days when one friend would insist on picking up the dinner check—and with them, the practice of splitting bills evenly, reports the Chicago Tribune. More and more, newly budget-conscious diners are asking for itemized checks. "Why?" says one restaurant manager. "Because nobody is anxious to pay for anyone else now."

One owner sums up the atmosphere: "I think the whole tone at the restaurant table has changed. At the beginning of the meal, you see internal calculations in their eyes. There are more sidelong glances when someone is ordering wine. Which is why, at the end of the meal, a party of five drops five cards for five separate checks."