According to research by a major online restaurant booking firm and the PR agency House PR, an astonishing third of all restaurant diners in the UK opt for splitting the bill evenly at the end of their meal with the rest of their table because they fear looking stingy if they don’t.
OpenTable and House PR say that a study into dining habits reveals that 38% of UK restaurant customers agree to “Go Dutch” because there are more concerned with how not doing so will make them look in the eyes of the people they eat with than with the extra costs they incur.
And the costs are significant: just under £9 per meal, or a breathtaking £33,000 over a lifetime, enough to put down as a downpayment for an average UK property.
These findings about restaurant diners’ concern about they are perceived by their fellow diners received widespread online media coverage, including in the online editions of the UK’s leading redtops – The Sun and The Daily Mirror.
The study also indicated that the practice of “Going Dutch” was very prevalent, with over 65% of restaurant diners in the UK going for this option when their bill arrives.
For 58% of subjects in the research, the main reason is convenience and almost a third of restaurants say that they go out their way to facilitate this choice of payment.
Of those diners who don’t “Go Dutch”, the main reasons cited were not wanting to pay for fellow diners who order more than the average spend on alcoholic drinks (54%) or on food (49%). And 27% said they eschewed splitting the bill evenly when they weren’t eating with very good friends.
Surprisingly, there are other losers when restaurant diners “Go Dutch”: waiting staff receive much smaller tips. 23% of customers say they leave smaller gratuities when their table “Goes Dutch”, a figure confirmed by nearly half all restaurants in the research.
OpenTable Europe’s Adrian Valeriano admits that despite the convenience of “Going Dutch”, in fact both a significant number of customers and restaurants are worse off because of this practice. He confirms that restaurants are noting that tables that “Go Dutch” tip less.