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Group Dining

Dining out as a group can turn out to be rather nightmarish, particularly if itís a group who are not well acquainted. However if you observe the basic group dining etiquettes, you ought to be able to navigate any group dining situation-:

Most large parties don't arrive in one big minivan, so some members are going to have to wait on the others. Many restaurants will not seat a large group until the entire party is there, so if you're the lingerer, make sure you connect with the rest of your party and let them know.
Remember when dining out in a large group, it is practically impossible to have a conversation with everyone on the table. Do not scream or shout across the table as that will disturb the other guests in the restaurant. Instead talk to the people seated next to you. If theirs is someone in the group with whom you were particularly looking to spend time with, make sure that both of youíll arrive 30 minutes early and catch up with each other, as it would make the group uncomfortable if the both of youíll chose to talk only to each other.

Ask the waiter to bring out all thatís been ordered at the same time because itís impolite to start eating when somebody else is still waiting for their meal to arrive. For instance, if you have ordered a hot entrťe which is served before anybody elseís meal has arrived at the table, it would be most inappropriate if you began eating it right away, however if you donít eat it, itís bound to go cold and tasteless. Therefore, the best thing to do is to ask the waiter top serve all meals at the same time.

Perhaps the most important issue when dining out in groups is the settlement of the bill. All of a sudden everybodyís reaching into their wallets and fervid calculation start with some feeling they ended up paying more than the other. How then do you deal with such a situation?

  • Decide how the bill ought to be settled before getting to the restaurant. Yes, it is uncomfortable to talk about money but if you want to avoid the embarrassing situation at the end of your meal is to pre decide over such issues. The best way to handle it would be for one person to use their credit card, and the others can pay him. However this too can be rather tedious for the person who pays the bill as it is his responsibility to retrieve it.

  • Most restaurants prefer to be paid in cash so as far as possible pay cash. Find out if the restaurant is willing to keep separate tabs, many restaurant do not provide this provision if there are more than 5 in a group as it becomes difficult to keep tab of who ordered what. And for godís sakes, do not excuse yourself to the restroom just when the bill is arriving. Thatís just terrible.

  • If itís a formal or business dinner than the bill ought to be picked up by the party that extended the invitation. However, if you know that there could be a situation where both parties will insist on making the payment at the end of the meal, discreetly slip your credit card to the waiter when you get to the restaurant. This can save a lot of embarrassment over haggling of who should pay.