Make no mistake, when it comes to food, leave it to the super wealthy to come up with creative ways to spend their money. But what about how wealthy people split the bill?
Wealthy people splitting the bill seems like a foreign concept to most people, and with the divide between the ultra-rich and the poor becoming larger each passing year, the practices of the rich when it comes to mundane things like dining with friends becomes an elusive dance of etiquette and protocol.
Thankfully, the internet has come through for us with an extensive list of general practices that the super wealthy usually keep to themselves when it comes to splitting the bill at any restaurant situation. The people of Quora, an online community of question-answering have given their responses to what they feel like are the standards of the wealthy when dining out.
1) The Bill is Crass: It is my understanding, that a bill arriving at the table is considered crass in many places where the wealthy choose to dine. Wealthy people don’t split bills or get bills when eating out with friends. Sometimes they get change, but most of the time someone arrives early to pay in advance or someone employs another to do this for them. In some circumstances, it is customary for those who don’t pay to become responsible for the tip. Discussion about the payment is usually always considered rude. It’s the reason that many private clubs don’t have cash interaction at dining tables. (Quora: Ardell Dellaloggia)
2) A 50/50 chance: It is my experience that there is no set way that things are done. Some wealthy people are generous and always insist on paying for the meal. Other wealthy people are very cheap, and will always ask you to split the bill even if they have 50x more money than you. Some take turns paying, some split the bill with other wealthy people. There is no set system. (Quora: Richard Holmes)
3) Don’t Talk About It: I’m not super wealthy, myself, but I have friends who are. My answer is a little counterintuitive. They usually pay. It’s not for any reason that they are rich, but more so because they don’t like to waste time or energy on money discussion. They have a mentality of “let’s get this damn thing paid and get out of here.” It’s okay if someone wants to grab the cheque without fuss or drama, as long as it doesn’t become ‘a thing.’ If they think there’s going to be a ‘thing’ they just try their best to buy their way out of it. It’s not a power move or generosity either. It’s just a distaste for discussing financial transactions. (Quora: Jim Leff)
4) Wealthy Tab Hierarchy: I was in Vegas and spent some time with a friend who worked for a major celebrity. The celebrity was friends with a billionaire co-owner of an online gambling app. I went out to lunch with my friend and he explained that if the billionaire is there, he picks up the tab for the group. If he isn’t, the celebrity picks up the tab for the group. But if the celebrity was out for lunch with the friend alone, the friend had a rule that he picked up the tab. (Quora: Karl Mamer)
5) Never Split The Bill: I make around $2,000 per hour in passive income, so as long as a dinner for 4 or 8 isn’t $2,000 I figure it’s not a big deal for me. I have my own table at restaurants that I frequent, so whenever I invite friends out for dinner, I always say “My table, my rules.” I almost never let my guests pay for dinner. A few exceptions come when the person insists they pay for whatever reason, but I have never split a check. I haven’t done so in nearly 30 years. (Quora: Gordon Miller)
6) Invite You (VS) Join US: When a host says “I invite you” that usually means it’s a meal that they are organizing, and therefore will typically pay. It’s the same for them as if inviting you to a meal at their house, but instead someone else is cooking and serving the food elsewhere. If they ask “want to join us?” typically everyone in the group tends to split the cost regardless of who ate or drank what. (Quora: Kee Nethery)
7) They Don’t Handle It: When it comes to money, the very wealthy, especially “old money” wealthy as it’s sometimes called have a set of protocols when dealing money. They never handle the money. They have someone do this for them. An employee follows the rich person around and pays for whatever they desire. Usually, this means paying for bills ahead of time. They also have an arrangement with establishments whether it’s a restaurant, private club or whathaveyou. (Quora: Mike Farr)
8) They Might Be The Same As Us: I’ve eaten out with many people worth close to $500 million to $500 billion net worths in the Silicon Valley, and they argue about splitting the bill like any of my friends with normal incomes would. “You got it last time, let me” and vice-versa. Usually, the one organizing is the one who tries to pay. (Quora: Matthew Petach)
9) The Mentor: A few years back I was mentored by a very wealthy person whose inner circle of friends included high ranking politicians, billionaires, and celebrities. Whenever he invited people out for a meal, not only did he always pick up the cheque, he made sure he had the best table, his guests had the best view, and meticulously planned seating arrangements. (Quora: Elena LeDoux)
10) Gates and Buffett: A few years ago I had an opportunity to witness Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and their families having dinner together at a steak restaurant. The waitress sat us at a table very close by and we could hear their conversations quite closely. By the time the cheque came, it arrived just as it would for you or me, and she placed it in the middle of the table for both men to fight over. They had the routine argument about “it’s my turn, you got it last time” to which Buffet won. Both men are known for their humility and generosity so it was no surprise to see them both wanting to pick up the tab. In a way, it was humbling to see these big names are in many ways the same as you or I. (Quora: Chris Weber)
11) Working In Hospitality: I’ve had a hospitality career for the past 8 years or so and I’ve had opportunities to serve many super-rich people. A few cases included Matt Damon and Lady Gaga whose organizing companies paid for their meals in advance, Richard Gere whose expenses were paid for by the company that invited him. Very rarely do you see them handling actual cash. (Quora: Kapil Yadav)
12) Nobody “Splits” The Bill: Wealthy people don’t split the bill. That’s something us normal people do because we want to be courteous and don’t want the other person to think that we’re taking advantage of them for a free meal or drinks. When wealthy people dine together they likely take turns paying the bill. Ugly poor people argue about splitting the bills. Rich people don’t.
13) The Billionaire’s Wallet: I once worked as a billionaire’s ‘wallet’ and I can tell you that the richer you are the less cash you touch. I became a rich man’s “assistant” through the mega yacht industry, and organized all of his personal expenditures including dinners out with friends. The rich person always paid. (Quora: Tom Chester)
14) It’s All About The Context: Some celebrities get preferential treatment and some abuse that privilege by not paying for their meals when they probably should. Others with a big public image might invite others out to a meal and pay for everything. Some who are super wealthy became wealthy by being careful with their money, so they continue this behavior when the bill comes. It’s all about the context of their history and what their personal wealth says about their character. (Quora: James Kennedy)
15) Paying At Random: A few years ago I worked at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Toronto, and we’d get hockey players, basketball players, and actors in town for big film or theatre productions. One thing I saw was that the Maple Leafs all throw out their credit cards into a folded napkin, and let the waiter pull a card out at random when the bill came. (Quora: Rob Fletcher)
16) Taking Turns: My mother is fairly well off and works in a profession with lots of wealthy people. She goes to a lot of lunches or dinners with them and the rules are fairly simple: She’ll pay, then her college pays, then the other colleague pays, etc. They all take turns. The bill might not exactly be fair or equal (like $100 max) but the variance doesn’t matter to these people. A food bill is peanuts to what they earn, but they always try to take turns. (Quora: Michael Bates)
17) The Wealthy Way: I eat out almost every day, sometimes twice a day. It’s either that we trade off (IE: I buy one time, then the person I’m meeting buys the next) OR If it’s someone that’s not as well off, even if they are asking for mentoring/advice, I pick the restaurant that I want to meet at, so I almost always pay. Only once did I have someone insist that they pay, and it felt weird for me not to pay. (Quora: Curt Sutherland)
18) Don’t Be Rude: When I lived and worked in London, England, I served a bunch of rich celebrities at the restaurant I worked at. Goldie Hawn left without paying. Steven Seagal threw his ashtray at me when I brought him his bar tab. Richard Branson tipped me the equivalent of 2 Canadian dollars for a bill of up to $1500 once. I don’t care who pays the bill if you’re wealthy, but I wish that everybody (both rich and poor) would treat others with respect. (Quora: Shona Fuller)
19) Athletes Are The Worst: I ran a large restaurant/bar in Miami that was frequented by many high profile celebrities. We got a lot of sports stars in, and I was shocked at how paying for a tab or bill by them was not even thought of by the celebrity. It’s almost as if they expected the house to pick up the tab for the honor of having them in attendance. (Quora: Ken Nosse)
20) Not All People Are The Same: I have many friends, rich and poor alike. Not all rich people are the same, and not all poor people are the same. I have had very cheap rich friends, and I have had very cheap poor friends. The same goes for generosity. It all depends on the kind of people you spend your time with, and the individual situations that come with dining out with people. (Quora: Kevin Strasser)