Hospitality is all about service, right?
Not so fast, take a minute to read some review sites out there and you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise.
I’m not a big fan of the mantra “the customer is always right”, but customers vote with their feet and it doesn’t make good business sense to lose customers over issues that are easily solved.
Resentful customers are not going to help your business!
To split or not to split, that is the question.
It’s worth noting that:
- Businesses can set their own rules as to whether or not they allow customers to pay separately when dining as a group. If a restaurant or café clearly states “One Bill per Table” then consumers must comply with this and don’t have a legal right to demand a service that is not being offered.
- Bill splitting is a service that customers are looking for. Search the play store or itunes and you’ll find a plethora of apps designed to help customers divvy up the check.
So why do restaurants & cafes resist providing a service that customers clearly want:
- Associated transaction fees - more card payments equals higher costs.
- The added time that it takes staff to separate the bill and/or make separate payments.
- Only the customers know who had what (unless the POS knows).
- As customers pay then leave, some items, particularly shared dishes may be left out, this can mean no one ends up paying for them.
The last to pay or the restaurant takes a hit in order to avoid a dispute.
- The cost burden is placed on the restaurant for this added service.
As a result some restauranteurs put the onus on their customers to sort things out.
We’ve all been there, armed with calculators, that little piece of receipt paper doing the rounds until hopefully all items are accounted for.
Other restaurants do offer the rear-guard splitting service (sort the bill on checkout),
however it's still annoying for customers who have ever increasing expectations.
I had a client ring me recently to ask how she could split checks retrospectively i.e. if orders were taken without knowing who had what.
She said that customers don’t always say up front if they are going to split the bill or not.