Paying the Bill

There is one abiding rule - the person who requests the pleasure, pays for the pleasure. So, as a simple point of etiquette, you should pick up the tab for a lunch, dinner or drinks - whether dating or business lunching - if you have invited the other person.

'Going Dutch' is not recommended on a date. Instead, the person who issued the invitation should pick up the tab.

The gender divide can often put unfair pressure on the man to pay when dining as a couple. Men should be ready to concede if she is adamant she must pay her way. More established couples should take it in turns if they are financially equal, or split the bill.

Splitting the bill is fine for bigger restaurant gatherings. Costs should be divided equally; niggling about the comparative cost of dishes and drinks will be embarrassing and look cheap.

In the UK, tipping in restaurants is usually 'discretionary', but it is more discretionary in some places than others so check your bill. 'Service not included' means just that, and it is usual to offer at least ten per cent.

If you are paying by card, you will often be able to add the tip before entering your PIN number. Leaving cash is the method favoured by restaurant staff.

Some establishments will add a discretionary percentage automatically. You are not obliged to pay this if service has been noticeably poor, and in some circumstances it is acceptable to ask for it to be removed.

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