Headache-Free Tipping for Group Dinners

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restaurant checkThe Financial Problem

At the end of a huge group dinner, deciphering the tip can be a miserable experience. Everyone always argues about who owes what. And, even when they figure it out, telling friends that they need to leave a few more bucks than they’d planned is just plain annoying.

The Solution

Learning how to arrive at the perfect percent for every tipping situation is never easy. You need to be accurate and tip fairly—especially if the food was yummy and you’re already planning a return.

The Action

If you’re in a rush, come up with a single digit for everyone to leave as tip. For example, tell friends to add an extra $5 bucks to the price of their meals. To quickly calculate tip: Double the tax (if you’re in NYC and computing with NYC tax rates), round the number and divide by the number of diners. Socially, it’s better to overestimate the cost and distribute a couple dollars of change, rather than asking people to chip in again.

If you’ve got a calculator handy on your cell, it’s time to be more precise. Put a decimal in front of the desired tip percent (i.e. 18% is now .18) and multiply by the total (.18 x $45) = $8.10. Then add in the tax (always written on your receipt) and divide by the number of diners.

Or, download the Check Please tip calculator application on your iPhone. It doesn’t cost a cent, you’ll always know what to tip, and it’s discreetly accessible (your server will simply think that you’re texting, even when you’re actually calculating her tip). It’s especially good for large groups because it helps each person figure out her share. So, no more arguments with your underpaying friends—just show them what it says on the screen. After this, you’ll never be in a tipping squabble again.

For you video junkies, here’s a video on how to use it.

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