Case Study: Who Should Pay the Bill and When?

For over a decade, Amanda has traveled the globe as a partner in a consulting firm. Imagine her surprise to recently learn from her manager that some clients felt uncomfortable when she reached for the check at business meals.

Since Amanda initiated the invitation and work was clearly on the menu, she was correct to pick up the tab. But how could she avoid the awkwardness that occurs when a waiter leaves the check on the table, the inevitable discussion over who will pay, and the uncomfortable silence that accompanies deciding on the tip?

The solution was easier than she imagined it would be. Amanda now arrives at the restaurant before her clients and leaves a credit card with the manager or host, with explicit instructions that she’s going to pay.

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Why is this the smartest approach to business dining? Rather than having conversation grind to a halt, Amanda is able to graciously thank her guests for the pleasure of their company at her own time and on her own dime.

This is a frequent question, yet professionals continue to be bewildered with how to pull this off. Imagine how smooth the close of the meal will be when you end on a high note and good conversation, rather than that awkward silence. Also, when you take care of the bill prior to being seated, you are elevated in the eyes of your guests. It's truly as simple as that.