Hey, does anyone out there know what the proper etiquette is for picking up the tab when you have a business lunch?
I ask because I attend business lunches almost every day. I meet with clients. I meet with prospects. I meet with business friends.
I always thought the rule of thumb was, if I’m “pitching” something, I should pay. If the other party is trying to “pitch” me, they pay. If no one is selling, you split the tab.
Well, recently I went to breakfast with someone who’s been trying to get together for a long time. We talked a bit about his business and about mine. He tried to sell me a sponsorship for one of his upcoming endeavors.
When the waitress came by, he ordered an egg omelet. I ordered a single egg. I didn’t think about who would pay for what until the bill came. It was $22 for breakfast. He quickly took the bill and put it on his side. I politely asked him how much I owe, and he told me $11. I started to think should I have not said anything and let him pick up the tab? Should I grab the bill and insist on paying?
I made the conscience decision to split the bill. But all I kept thinking was “Why should I pay $11 for a single egg?”
Later in the day, I went for lunch with a retired client. Since she no longer works, my thought was I was paying for lunch. When the bill came, she quickly grabbed it and when I asked how much, she said it was on her. That surprised me since I invited her and she’s no longer employed. I graciously accepted the lunch and thought, whoever pays, it all evens out at the end.