Can Restaurants Split The Bill?

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links. A commission may be earned for us by clicking some links and buying some products.

When restaurants take their orders they usually expect one person to pay for everything, but can they split the bill? We will answer what you can expect from most restaurants when it comes to this. There are some factors that determine whether or not splitting the bill can be done for certain situations.

The first thing to note is that it is possible for a restaurant to split a bill, but it depends on how the person/people want to do it. For example, if two people want to pay a bill with a card, then it may not be possible to do it this way for most restaurants. It is not because they don’t want to do it, but because they can’t most of the time in this situation. It has to do with their register and how it takes payments.

The reason why it would be difficult for a restaurant to split a bill with two separate cards, is because the register will only take a credit or debit card usually that can pay the entire bill in full. If it isn’t possible for the debit or credit card to pay the bill all at once, then it is rejected. This is usually how it is set up at majority of restaurants that take card payments.

The only way that a bill can be paid with two separate cards is usually by the usage of a gift card, and then a debit/credit card, in that order. This is because the gift card acts as a redemption card that is expected to work by the cash register, regardless if it cannot pay the bill in full. So, if you were using cards to pay for one bill at a restaurant, then this would be the way to do it. Of course, only gift/reward cards that can be redeemed at the participating restaurants are the only ones that will work.

The gift card has to be used first, then the debit or credit card afterwards. However, as stated, two separate debit or credit cards in any combination will not usually work for this. They can only pay for the remainder of the bill to finish the payment after deductions have been made.

Cash and Cards

Cash and cards can be used to pay for a split bill. In other words, if the order is all on one ticket, then one person can have cash used first to pay for a part of the bill, which usually can be registered at the restaurant’s cash register machines. Multiple people can of course pitch in to pay with cash on the same bill, as long as the credit card or debit card is going to be used last to finish paying for the order.

The cash registers at restaurants have built in calculators majority of the time, so when the cash is received, the amount of cash is just plugged in at the register. The bill will not be perceived by the machine to be paid until enough cash has been plugged in that can pay the bill. This means that usually the machine will allow cash to be taken to deduct from the bill or check, and then a card afterwards to finish the payment.

Gift cards can also usually be used in combination with the cash and the credit or debit card, as long as the debit or credit card is used last. The way the gift cards work may depend on how their system is set up at the restaurant for their cash registers on whether or not it will work. The digital cash registers at restaurants are set up most of the time by technicians that do not actually work for the restaurant. It all depends on how their software works for those registers.


When using a check to pay for the bill at a restaurant, it can be a little tricky, as it varies per restaurant. Some restaurants will take checks, while some restaurants will decline to accept payments from writing a check. This is dependent on the corporation of the restaurant on whether or not they will allow it. It is best to ask the restaurant beforehand if they take checks. When you ask, make sure the answer is coming from a higher up in the restaurant, not a regular employee, as they usually do not know, and may guess and tell you the wrong thing.

Can Restaurants Split Orders To Be Paid Separately On One Bill?

Yes. Some restaurants have the technology for their cash registers to be able to take all the orders given to them separately to be paid separately on one ticket. This doesn’t mean that all restaurants are capable of doing this, but it definitely is convenient for the ones that can do it. An order can be taken by some with how ever many order items on it as the consumer wants, and then the ticket can be closed and a split ticket can be ordered with order items without closing the bill.

However, the methods used by the restaurant to do this may be simpler for some than others, depending on their systems. For some restaurants, they may not be able to do this on their systems, but instead will close the first ticket, then start a new one on a new ticket to split the orders that intend to be paid separately. If they do this, then the restaurant will usually put the name of the person ordering for each ticket to keep any confusion or mix ups from happening. The first bill is closed if it is done this way in this case.

In any case, usually the restaurant will ask for a name for the tickets so that they know/remember who is paying for what.

Why don’t restaurants like to split bills?

Some restaurants don’t mind splitting the bill, while others think that it is an unnecessary inconvenience. The ones that don’t like splitting the bill, usually don’t have systems that are set up on their cash registers that can easily sort out all the orders to keep things flowing smoothly. That is why they hate it. Also, the money management is done by the restaurant itself at the end of the shifts. It could cause complications that they either can’t handle when it is time to count the money, or they are just a hassle and take too much time to deal with.

These decisions aren’t always left up to the cashier, managers on duty, or even the general manager at the restaurant to decide. The decision to reject splitting checks could be coming from the owner of the restaurant or the corporate. They are the ones that ultimately end up dealing with all the orders for the day after the managers at the restaurant counts the money and sends in the reports.

Many times restaurants just want to be restaurants and will try to sometimes avoid these hassles to keep things in the restaurant territory. Being an accountant isn’t something some of them are able to deal with. Not even on the level of splitting checks. These things do often cause they money reports to end up short or over when they send their reports in, because of all the confusion.

Also, these problems could have something to do with their cash registers’ systems too. All orders taken have to be plugged into the system normally so that everything is accounted for at the end of the day. Depending on their computers, this could be really complicated because of this reason, when it comes to splitting checks.

However, in any case, if a restaurant isn’t able to split a check, try canceling the order, starting over, and simply making separate orders to be paid individually instead. It is nearly the same concept of splitting checks. It makes things easier for some restaurants that don’t have the best software for their cash registers. Just make sure that the cashier taking the orders is labeling each ticket with a name so that you get all of your food paid for correctly with the right types of payments (cash, check, gift cards, reward cards, debit, or credit).

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: