Dodge the Splitting Fee


Travel can be expensive.  When you are regularly paying for drinks out- much more expensive than drinks in- that cost increases.  We have talked before about our strategies to reduce our travel costs, including splitting meals whenever possible.  Unfortunately, some restaurants have a mine set for clever people like us: the splitting fee.

I remember the first time we really encountered this.  We were at a brewpub in Winston-Salem (to be left unnamed as I don’t want to send them any business!).  We had a fine- but not particularly remarkable- meal with our tasting flight. When we got our bill, it was more than expected.  On further inspection, there was a $3.99 splitting fee tacked on!

To say I was upset would be an understatement.  We didn’t fill any of our growlers there, so I think they definitely shot themselves in the foot.  This wasn’t some fancy, expensive place. It was a brewpub! Why in the world did they think a splitting fee was reasonable?  I’m not sure. So here are some considerations for you with the splitting fee.

Servers will not verbally disclose it.  It’s usually in fine print at the bottom of the menu.  Keep an eye out for it. I feel, if a splitting fee may apply, servers should forewarn you.  I don’t think we have ever been notified about a splitting fee a priori.

Our solution?  Just order a side.  Often I’ll order the main course and Susan will get some fries, or visa versa.  This keeps our cost down (though not as much as just getting a single main course) and, importantly, makes us feel that we are getting something for the additional money paid.  Often a side of fries is less expensive than the splitting fee.

So far, no one has objected to this strategy, even when it is evident that we are sharing the main course.  Keep an eye out for those tucked away splitting fees and get one up on them by ordering an inexpensive side!

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