Published: 19/05/2021

Brits are split on how to settle the restaurant bill after a meal with friends and family.

A study of 2,000 diners, by, revealed 34 per cent believe you should split the bill straight down the middle including the tip, while 36 per cent reckon it should be split precisely based on who has had what.  

Nearly half (43 per cent) are left feeling awkward when it comes to approaching how to pay when they eat out.  

But eight in 10 (80 per cent) wouldn’t let such experiences put them off heading back to restaurants as they continue to reopen.  

However, love it or hate it, 63 per cent said splitting the bill is all part of the eating out experience.  

Julie Daniels, head of rewards at said:

"Splitting the bill often divides opinion, as our research shows. But one thing is for sure, people are looking forward to dining out again and plan to make up for lost time. 

"As restaurants continue to reopen their doors, we have expanded our Meerkat Meals reward to give our customers even more choice and to make splitting the bill a little easier.” 

It also emerged 42 per cent have agreed to pay more than they wanted to avoid an uneasy situation, while the same amount have also done it simply to look good. 

And nearly one in five (19 per cent) have left a bigger tip to cover off an uncomfortable payment experience.  

While 20 per cent have actually paid in full on behalf of others to dodge the awkwardness entirely. 

More than a quarter (26 per cent) had been involved in a disagreement over whether to leave a tip – with the average being left for restaurant staff being £8.25. 

The average respondent has had to wait an excruciating six minutes and 45 seconds to settle a bill, with more than half (52 per cent) having felt embarrassed by the actions of those who they’ve dined out with when sorting payment. 

Yet 65 per cent have used, or experienced someone calculating their total from a bill using a calculator or phone app.

The study also found 13 per cent have fallen out with someone over quibbling over the bill as 29 per cent have had to apologise over how long the bill is taking to be resolved.  
Friends (28 per cent) were those most likely to nit-pick over payment with 16 per cent experiencing it with colleagues. 

Despite this, 52 per cent are looking to make up for lost time when it comes to eating out as restrictions ease as 13 per cent would even go as far as to say they missed such moments.  

Julie Daniels, from, added:

“Hopefully splitting the bill will be a little easier as, in addition to 2 for 1 on selected food, at participating restaurants from Sunday to Thursday, Meerkat Meals now includes 25 per cent off the entire bill at a number of venues on various days of the week, with great deals available at chain favourites and local independents, via our Meerkat app.’’ 


About was launched in 2006 and has grown rapidly over the past 15 years to become one of the UK’s leading price comparison websites. provides customers with an easy way to make the right choice for them on a wide range of products including motor, home, life, travel and pet insurance as well as utilities and money products such as credit cards and loans. actively works with its brand partners to help provide great services to customers. and are trading names of Compare The Market Limited, an insurance intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Firm Reference Number 778488) and is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority for the provision of payment services (FRN: 911617). Energy and Digital products are not regulated by the FCA. 

Meerkat Meals Takeaway T&Cs: 

With a Qualifying Product. 1 membership per year. App only. Participating outlets. Specific offer, delivery fees & radius vary by outlet. Card only. T&Cs apply.  
Rewards T&Cs: 

With a qualifying product. 1 membership per year. Rewards T&Cs apply.  

Meerkat Meals: App only. Participating outlets. Restrictions, limitations & T&Cs apply. 

  • Pizza Delivery: 50% off Pizzas, 7 days a week. £30 min spend. Excl. N.I. 
  • Dine out – 2 for 1: Selected food, cheapest free. A la carte only. Sun-Thurs. Max 6 people. Kids meals and drinks excl. 
  • Dine out – 25% off total bill: Days available vary by outlet. Min & Max group sizes apply. 
  • Delivery & Collection: Specific offer, delivery fees & radius vary by outlet. Card only. 

Meerkat Movies: Participating cinemas. Tues or Weds. 2 standard tickets only, cheapest free.