We've all been there. Trying to decide on where to eat with a group of friends or family, followed by adventures in splitting the bill, can be downright comical. Even if you do settle on someplace to go, your vegan friend may end up ordering only sides, and then unfairly chipping in for everyone else's entrées.
A variety of small plates for the table is a savvy option.
On a recent night out I experienced both of these challenges. So, in the spirit of helping you avoid such hassles, here are some tips to make sure your next meal out is stress-free:
1. Plan Ahead
If you're the one in charge of choosing where to eat, aim for a place that suits the finances of every invitee. Consider a fixed-price menu or, for larger groups, a family-style dinner where the price charged is per head. These options allow you to set budget expectations in advance, meaning your fellow diners won't get an unwelcome surprise when they open their menus.
2. Skip the Entrée
A variety of small plates for the table is a savvy option that will cover most people's food preferences and allergies. Choose a place that specializes in small plates or just look for a restaurant with tons of appetizers. Odds are, those with dietary restrictions will still be able to enjoy something, and more adventurous eaters can try a bite of everything. This is an especially good idea if you don't know everyone's wants and needs.
3. Create Your Own Dish
Look for a restaurant that lets you design your own entrée. The trend is not just relegated to on-the-go salad and sandwich joints—many higher-end restaurants offer a variety of entrées where diners can choose how they want their protein or pasta prepared, right down to the cooking method, the sauce and the sides.
4. Don't Wait to Pay
Forget about waiting for your server to drop off the check. To take the hassles out of paying your check, try an app* like TabbedOut** that lets you open a tab, view your items in real time, add a tip and pay your tab right from your phone, allowing you to leave the restaurant at your convenience.
5. Order In
Still can't agree where to eat? Order in. Consider an online delivery service that makes it easy to order from multiple restaurants. That way, everyone can find something they love. Plus, there won't be a rush to leave good company just because the meal has ended.