How To Enjoy Being in a Party of 25

party of 25...

party of 25…

Having been a waiter since the dawn of time, it is very difficult for me to go into a restaurant and completely enjoy myself. Too often, I am watching to see how the restaurant is being run or trying too hard to accommodate my server and make thinks easier for him. When I go out in a large group, it’s even worse. I get a serious case of angina because I know how difficult large parties can be for a server. Not all large parties, just some. I have been chastised on this blog before for writing rules for customers so they can make it easier for their server. Today, however, I am going to write some rules for customers that will make it easier on themselves. Specifically, when you go out to dinner as part of a large group.

We’ve all been there. It’s your friend’s cousin’s boyfriend’s birthday and you suddenly find yourself at a restaurant in a party of twenty-five people. They have pushed twelve tables together and you are sitting between a lady you have never seen before and another lady you never want to see again. The one person you know is sitting at the other end of the table and you hear the waitress say, “Sorry, we don’t do separate checks.” You are overcome with panic and fear, sweat dripping off your nose, as you begin to wonder how in the hell you are going to deal with the check when it makes it to the table. If it’s like every other time you have been in this situation, the last person to hold the check is going to get screwed and you don’t want to have to pay extra because someone else doesn’t know how to divvy up a check. Relax. I’ve got you covered. Keep these things in mind the next time you are going to be at a restaurant in a  large group.

  1. Bring cash. Specifically, bring a few twenties, a ten, a five and four singles. This way, you will not have to ask for change from anyone and you won’t have to use a credit card. I know, I know, you don’t ever have any cash, but trust me. Stop your lazy ass at the ATM and do it. You will not regret it.
  2. Keep track of what you are ordering as you order it. Look at the prices on the menu so you don’t have to look at the bill later and search to see how much your nachos cost. Keep a rolling total in your head as you go so that you will know exactly how much you owe.
  3. Keep track of what those around you order too. If you notice that the booze hound on the other end of the table is ordering three martinis for your every one beer you want to be able to stop the presses when he says, “Hey, let’s just divide this check by twenty-five.” (Be aware, if the booze hound has crazy fucked up hair and is desperate for attention, you may be having dinner with me.) Be brave and tell that drunk bitch that you only had two beers and a burger while he had five martinis, a salad, a steak and dessert. You’ll pay for what you had, thank you very much.
  4. Be sure to add the tax and tip, assuming you live in a state that has sales tax. The average sales tax in the United States is 9.6%. A good tip is 20%. Round it up to 30% and call it a day. If your food and beverage total was $29, just add 30% to that total, which would be $37.70. Since you have cash, all you have to do is lay down a twenty, a ten, a five and three singles. Always round up because you know some ass hole is going to be cheap. If the gratuity is added, it will probably be around 15-20%, so you will be covered.
  5. Be one of the first people to put your money down. Be clear. Say, “I had two beers and a burger and the total before tax is $29. I am leaving $38.00.” Drop that money onto the table and wash your hands of the situation. By being the first one to put money down, you are doing two things; you are providing some change there for other people to use because some bitch only has a hundred dollar bill and you are ensuring that you will not be the last person who handles the bill and realizes that the table is still forty dollars short.
  6. Be strong. No matter how hard you may want to help those clueless bitches with the check, don’t do it. Stay out of it. You have contributed the correct amount and you are no longer responsible.
  7. If you are not eating, you can always sneak away to the bar and get your drinks from the bartender so you can pay as you go. This will keep you from having to even look at the bill when the time comes. The server probably won’t give a shit since there will be twenty-four other needy assholes. When he walks by, smile and say, “I’m all good.”
  8. If you’re like me, you’ll want to leave as soon as possible. Once you know that your part of the bill is completed, feel free to say your good byes and move on. It always gets dicey at the end when everyone is forced to throw in a few extra dollars to make up for the losers. I used to stay until the bitter end and always pony up extra money but not any more. I have learned that it is not worth it.
  9. Lastly, call your friend who invited you to this shit birthday party and tell them it sucked. Tell them you don’t give a rat’s ass about their cousin’s boyfriend’s birthday and then find out why that bitch didn’t even sit next to you. You were stuck between two whores who thought TGIFriday’s was some fine dining shit and you did not appreciate it. Tell this friend that the next time you end up in a party of twenty-five, it better be a party where someone else is picking up the check.

I truly believe if you keep these rules handy, you will not totally hate the next time you are in this situation, or at least you won’t hate the paying of the check. You will still hate that a booze hound with crazy fucked up hair is sucking all the attention out of the room but please give him a break. He’s not that bad. He’s insecure and if you pay close attention, he is taking notes for a future blog post.


The Bitchy Waiter on Twitter.


21 thoughts on “How To Enjoy Being in a Party of 25

  1. Tipper

    Just divide the check by 25. Everyone needs to stop being a cheap asshole. Grace only had coffee? Well it’s Grace’s lucky fucking day.

  2. Joye D. Gasner

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  3. Christy B.

    The last group free-for-all I went to was when I argued with someone that they owed more than the $10.99 than their entree costs, after he took out a dollar so he could round down for his penny (he put in $11.00, there was not a penny for him to take back so he took back $1!!!). I mentioned tax, his drinks and tip. He actually argued that he thought that tax was a stupid and shouldn’t be charged anyway, the person who invited everyone should pay the bar bill and that there were plenty of other people to cover the tip. Nobody else would speak up.

    I no longer go out in large groups unless it’s prepaid (and I’ve arranged it so I know that the waiter isn’t getting stiffed), or I’m footing the bill.

    You’re right – I don’t go out in large groups much anymore!

  4. mo

    I hate going to restaurants in a large party specifically for this reason. There is ALWAYS that one idiot that doesn’t put enough money for their bill. I add up the money I owe and tell the waitress how much to charge my credit card. I’ve paid for people’s food way too many times.

  5. Anne

    For my last birthday, my husband threw me a surprise party at our local pub/restaurant with 28 guests at one long table. After 20 years together, he is very clear on my feelings and protocol regarding large parties at restaurants. I usually hate them, because I get stuck next to Uncle Myron who never stops talking about taxidermy and/or Perky Friend hands me the check at the end to figure out who should pay what — which usually means I pay more because I would rather eat glass than scrimp on a large party tip.

    Before I arrived, my wise spouse had prepped each guest that I would be moving around the table so I could talk to everyone, so they should be ready to “musical chair” it. He’d put in an order of appetizers, so there wouldn’t be an hour of people figuring out the menu. He’d identified the “check team” who would be responsible for organizing the check and payment. And he assured me that he was extra tipping the wait staff himself.

    I had a wonderful time and our local eatery still welcomes us.

  6. maxi

    Ugh I hate these situations. I was at one of these dinners for a good friend’s birthday and 2 of her friends fucked off after only paying for their food and not the 2 beers they had each. Gah! I of course ended up paying more because I obviously didn’t want it to ruin my friend’s evening. Never. Again.

  7. Elizabeth

    This would be great advice except for the asshole that DOES pay with a card and now that 20 percent tip you dropped and walked away from got put towards the bill. Rest of the card, 70 dollar tap down to 16 bucks and the server walks away with 2. Happened to me last night. When I put down the check I clearly state CASH AMOUNT WENT TOWARDS THE BILL leaving whatever for the card. Sometimes it works, most the time people selectively listen.

    1. J.B.

      That happens to me on nearly a daily basis. I work at a restaurant that specializes in chocolate, desserts and fondue so we get large parties every single day/night. Mostly for birthdays. And they always pull the whole, “We want to put $25 on the card and the rest in cash” then we end up getting tipped in the amount on the card. Not to mention, its a tourist trap on a busy street in Boston so the majority of our customers are foreigners. So that’s fun. 🙂


      1. EmilyH

        What really chaps my ass is the ” take the cash off, then put the rest on the card” bullshit. So, after a dozen instances where the card-payer basically stole my tip to subsidize their payment, then only tipped on the card amount, I altered my tactic. When gathering the cash/card, I say with a dazzling smile (directly to the cash-payer) “and does the cash included tip, or should it all be applied to the bill?” Inevitably, I get a “I never thought about that!” look. (Along with an “eat shit” glare from the card-payer, who was looking forward to applying their friend’s eight bucks to their bill.) I encourage split checks, I bring split checks to the table, and if it’s all together, fine, I’ll adjust it. But it is too much to expect adults to do basic arithmetic such as correctly adding the tip to the total, I am not going to trust them to do division. As for tip percentage, we do the calculations for them and print “suggested gratuity” at the bottom of every check, a correct calculation of 15 and 20%.

  8. Another Tactic

    If I’m in a big party, I’ll do the finger crooking gesture to the server (Yes, Bitchy I know you hate this – but it’s for a good reason), before the drink order is even placed.

    I’ll often whisper to the server, please add 25% to EVERYONE’s check (or THE check). When the bill arrives, I simply tell everyone at the table “I asked the server to add 25% to our/your bill. Just pay the amount owed at the bottom.”

    The table will hate me (sometimes not, because I hang with decent people), and the server will love me.

    ALWAYS pay it forward 🙂

  9. Sam

    Great Advice, what works even better is not accepting friends invitations. But even a hermit like me needs company sometimes. 🙂

  10. Sweet Vermouth

    Also, don’t be the asshole that hands me a twenty after I set down their $4 beer and ask to cash out…while I still haven’t delivered everyone else’s drinks! Jeez!

  11. Erica

    The only one I disagree with is going to the bar. I’m serving your party to serve it, not for you to go to the bar – all that does is keep my sales down and I make less money. It also makes you look like an impatient jerk.

  12. Jenny

    Ha, these remind me of the times when people at my university would have to organise society ‘socials’. The worst ones were when I’d have to go with about 25-30 people whom I all knew, but didn’t really want to get well-acquainted with. They’d all be cliquey and have all these stupid in-jokes which was the extend of table banter, and there were a few complete ditzy ones who’d just put in a tenner and a bit of change and then bugger off. Luckily, no more! 😀

  13. Carlye

    I can’t pay cash when everyone else has a card, unless the server knows what I had and applies MY cash to MY stuff. Otherwise, they take the cash off the top and I have to worry about my jerk friends not tipping off the total.

    As a server, I’m fine with divvying up a check as long as everyone stayed in the fucking seats they started in so I remember what they had. It also helps if everyone pays with a card. It’s way easier than having to make change for 15 twenty-dollar-bills. If you pay cash, just leave enough to take care of the bill plus tip and tell the server you don’t need change.

    Another thing I feel like people don’t realize: a 20% tip is so easy to figure out in your head. Why complicate things by trying to figure out what 17.5% of $38.94 is? Just leave 20% and stop trying to find a way to justify it.

  14. Geoff Burkman

    Nicely put. The one thing I would do differently is give my share of the tip directly to the server, along with my sincere thanks for putting up with a party of two dozen schmucks and me. Everything else you wrote is spot on.

    1. Corina

      First thing I thought of, give the gratuity to the server so some cheap ass selfish bastard pockets the money and puts in less.


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