Author Topic: Is it rude to not advertise that we're paying?  (Read 12841 times)

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NFPwife

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Re: Is it rude to not advertise that we're paying?
« Reply #45 on: August 17, 2014, 09:24:56 AM »
I would much rather have the option of paying for myself and being able to choose what I wanted instead of having someone choose for me or limit my options to a selection of entrees that I couldn't eat.  I know not everyone has limitations, but for those of us who do, this sort of scenario puts us in the position of turning down the invitation.  It's happened.  I'm too uncomfortable asking for an accommodation.

I truly have sympathy for someone in your situation. This is why a standard part of my hosting protocol is to ask if there are any allergies or sensitivities. So that I can make *something* a guest with your issues can enjoy.

However, in the OP's situation, hosting at a restaurant is viewed as similar to hosting at home. In other words, it would not be rude for the host to simply order for everyone once they're at the table. After all if the host was hosting at home there would be a pre-set menu. So by arranging a pre-set menu with the restaurant in advance, it's quietly taking that same control as if a group was in a vehicle and one person said, "I want to treat everyone to Chez Fancy" and they accept and then that one person orders for everyone once they're settled in. It's not rude at all but it's not often done. Many times hosts will allow their guests to order what they want.

Presumably in the case of an intimate gathering like a birthday with family, they would know about sensitivities and try to accommodate them.

That's a great way of looking at it. It is the same thing and when hosting at home.

peaches

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Re: Is it rude to not advertise that we're paying?
« Reply #46 on: August 17, 2014, 10:20:08 AM »
I would much rather have the option of paying for myself and being able to choose what I wanted instead of having someone choose for me or limit my options to a selection of entrees that I couldn't eat.  I know not everyone has limitations, but for those of us who do, this sort of scenario puts us in the position of turning down the invitation.  It's happened.  I'm too uncomfortable asking for an accommodation.

I truly have sympathy for someone in your situation. This is why a standard part of my hosting protocol is to ask if there are any allergies or sensitivities. So that I can make *something* a guest with your issues can enjoy.

However, in the OP's situation, hosting at a restaurant is viewed as similar to hosting at home. In other words, it would not be rude for the host to simply order for everyone once they're at the table. After all if the host was hosting at home there would be a pre-set menu. So by arranging a pre-set menu with the restaurant in advance, it's quietly taking that same control as if a group was in a vehicle and one person said, "I want to treat everyone to Chez Fancy" and they accept and then that one person orders for everyone once they're settled in. It's not rude at all but it's not often done. Many times hosts will allow their guests to order what they want.

Presumably in the case of an intimate gathering like a birthday with family, they would know about sensitivities and try to accommodate them.

That's a great way of looking at it. It is the same thing and when hosting at home.

I agree.

Plus, dietary restrictions are common these days.  I hope no one will feel awkward raising the issue, either as host or guest.

KenveeB

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Re: Is it rude to not advertise that we're paying?
« Reply #47 on: August 17, 2014, 12:58:48 PM »
Having a preset menu can also add to the party atmosphere, make it feel more like a special event. My parents did this for my law school graduation. There was a specially printed menu that said something like "Congratulations, Kenvee!" at the top and then provided something like 2-3 options each for salad, entree, and dessert. We got that instead of the regular menu, so everyone knew only what the options  were and not other possibilities. I kept a copy of the menu and put it in my scrapbook. :)

For guests with dietary restrictions, I'd think being at a restaurant would make it a lot easier to get accommodations quietly -- you can just ask the waiter to have a certain entree without X ingredient, instead of having to deal with your host cooking a preplanned meal at home that's much harder to modify.

miranova

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Re: Is it rude to not advertise that we're paying?
« Reply #48 on: August 17, 2014, 10:30:12 PM »
I don't much like surprise hosting.  On the hosting end of it, I am not going to host anyone that I don't trust not to take advantage of me in the first place.  And if someone does take advantage, well, I've learned their character and it only cost me the price of their meal.  Lesson learned, and last time I will host them.  I would rather be upfront with people and risk the occasional moocher than inadvertently run into the problems that I've seen posted here (people holding back too much because they are on a very tight budget or people feeling bad because they indulged thinking they would pay etc). 

nolechica

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Re: Is it rude to not advertise that we're paying?
« Reply #49 on: August 18, 2014, 02:52:38 AM »
As someone who is frequently cash strapped, I wouldn't go if I couldn't afford a meal.  And if it was family or friends inviting,and they asked why I declined, I'd just say so.  When invited of course, not at the restaurant.  Totally depends on the group though.

DavidH

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Re: Is it rude to not advertise that we're paying?
« Reply #50 on: August 18, 2014, 10:07:48 AM »
I think it's a know your audience thing.  For people I'd host, I'd assume they'd be reasonable. I'd assume one appetizer and one entree per person, following my lead on cocktails, and I'd take control of the wine list and maybe offer choices from it to the table.  For example, I'd say "Mary will you join me for a cocktail before dinner?" and hope she got the cue that I was nicely trying to say "go for it, have a drink before dinner if you want one".  For wine, I'd start with the question or red or white, and then maybe say how does X, Y, or Z sound.  Depending on the venue, I might suggest we order appetizers for the table and then take suggestions of what everyone wants or guide the process as in, "How about an X, Y, and Z and whatever else sounds good?"

Unless they are prone to taking advantage, I'd just let them order from the menu.  I like the idea of a limited one for a large group and that works fine as well.  I don't love the idea of springing it on them afterwards, but it's not rude.  Springing the I'm not paying..that's a whole other matter. 

Yvaine

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Re: Is it rude to not advertise that we're paying?
« Reply #51 on: August 18, 2014, 10:09:00 AM »
As someone who is frequently cash strapped, I wouldn't go if I couldn't afford a meal.  And if it was family or friends inviting,and they asked why I declined, I'd just say so.  When invited of course, not at the restaurant.  Totally depends on the group though.

And then that's a dinner you didn't need to have missed, if the host had said "I'm treating you" right upfront. :)

Lynn2000

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Re: Is it rude to not advertise that we're paying?
« Reply #52 on: August 18, 2014, 11:41:23 AM »
I like the idea of a preset menu, and then telling people about this and what the menu is beforehand. That will make everything clear so people have full information on which to base their decision. For dietary restrictions, I do agree that you could end up choosing things that one particular person can't eat; but at least they will know about it ahead of time, and they can make alternate arrangements.

I have dietary restrictions now, which are a bit vague. Generally low-fat but there are a lot of components for me to think about--it isn't just, "chicken instead of beef" or "always a salad." I don't expect anyone else to be able to figure out how to accommodate me when I can hardly even tell them myself. But, if I researched a restaurant's full menu ahead of time and found that I was comfortable with entree X, only to get there and find a preset menu without entree X, I would be stuck. At someone's home with a casual atmosphere where people are grazing buffet-style, it's easier to get away with not eating anything, or just having a bit of fruit. At a restaurant, sitting at a table, it's painfully obvious if someone has decided to decline eating anything. At least if I was told beforehand of the preset menu and what its options were, I could decide whether to attend or not.

Also, it depends on if your particular relatives have displayed gimme pig tendencies before. If they haven't then I wouldn't worry about it showing up now. And if one person does anyway, hey, valuable information for the future.
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Is it rude to not advertise that we're paying?
« Reply #53 on: August 18, 2014, 11:57:33 AM »
And if there is a pre-set menu, there is no reason why an individual couldn't ask for a different meal for dietary/health reasons.  I often organize a pre-set menu for meetings and a vegetarian option isn't one of the three choices, usually.  I make sure to ask that one can be ordered separately and put 'Vegetarian entree available upon request' on the menu.  I do the same for gluten-free or allergies, as long as the people let me know ahead of time.

So if the restaurant will do a pre-set menu, choose the things you'd like to offer that cover most of the bases and send it out with the invitation.  If you know someone won't be able to find something on there, send them a separate email with a link to the restaurant's menu and get them to choose something they can eat and order that one entree separately.

When there is a pre-set menu, restaurants appreciate knowing numbers ahead of time so they can have the right amounts of everything prepped.  If you'd expect a pretty equal distribution between the three entree's but your group are mostly pescetarians, I'm sure they'd appreciate the heads up that they need to prep more salmon.   :D  When I've organized, we weren't carved in stone but we did give them a rough idea of how many of each entree would be needed.
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nolechica

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Re: Is it rude to not advertise that we're paying?
« Reply #54 on: August 18, 2014, 04:52:46 PM »
As someone who is frequently cash strapped, I wouldn't go if I couldn't afford a meal.  And if it was family or friends inviting,and they asked why I declined, I'd just say so.  When invited of course, not at the restaurant.  Totally depends on the group though.

And then that's a dinner you didn't need to have missed, if the host had said "I'm treating you" right upfront. :)

I agree and most of my family/friends do.  TBH, I only expect to pay when out with similarly broke friends because parents, uncles, other older adults treat the younger generation.

purple

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Re: Is it rude to not advertise that we're paying?
« Reply #55 on: August 18, 2014, 10:32:14 PM »
I think you either host and be happy about it, or don't host.

Telling them beforehand or afterwards is irrelevant, IMO, because it seems like the only reason you're wondering is so that you can be certain you don't get taken advantage of.  If you can't host without scrutinizing what people order or looking for alterior motives or holding grudges about whether they order something expensive, then don't do the party at a restaurant.  Do it at home or something.

I think also that you should either pay completely (including full meal plus drinks) or don't pay.

Honestly, if they are the type to order up big just because someone else is paying, then they don't sound like the kind of people I'd host at a restaurant, at home or ever!  That is horribly rude of them!! 

Lynn2000

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Re: Is it rude to not advertise that we're paying?
« Reply #56 on: August 19, 2014, 09:05:43 AM »
I think you either host and be happy about it, or don't host.

Telling them beforehand or afterwards is irrelevant, IMO, because it seems like the only reason you're wondering is so that you can be certain you don't get taken advantage of.  If you can't host without scrutinizing what people order or looking for alterior motives or holding grudges about whether they order something expensive, then don't do the party at a restaurant.  Do it at home or something.

I think also that you should either pay completely (including full meal plus drinks) or don't pay.

Honestly, if they are the type to order up big just because someone else is paying, then they don't sound like the kind of people I'd host at a restaurant, at home or ever!  That is horribly rude of them!!

I do think there's some merit in this. OP, I don't know if you're thinking of particular dodgy relatives (who can't be left out of the celebration without seriously damaging the family relationship), or just worried in general. I do think a preset menu is relatively common, gives a "fancier" air to the meal, and might be chosen for many reasons besides just reining in potential greediness, so I think that's still a great option. On the other hand if you're contemplating inviting people who have truly shown themselves to be entitled in the past, I'm sure they could find a way around even a preset menu or at least make a scene.  :-\

If you've never noticed this with your family I wouldn't automatically assume it will be a problem. If you have noticed it, and you can't leave those people out, you might consider something like picking up pans of food from the chosen restaurant and bringing it home, and having everyone eat there. The dodgy relatives might try to raid your refrigerator or steal your Tupperware (filled with "leftovers"), but at least they won't be racking up a huge bar bill or ordering a dozen lobsters.
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lowspark

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Re: Is it rude to not advertise that we're paying?
« Reply #57 on: August 19, 2014, 09:17:26 AM »
I think you either host and be happy about it, or don't host.

Telling them beforehand or afterwards is irrelevant, IMO, because it seems like the only reason you're wondering is so that you can be certain you don't get taken advantage of.  If you can't host without scrutinizing what people order or looking for alterior motives or holding grudges about whether they order something expensive, then don't do the party at a restaurant.  Do it at home or something.

I think also that you should either pay completely (including full meal plus drinks) or don't pay.

Honestly, if they are the type to order up big just because someone else is paying, then they don't sound like the kind of people I'd host at a restaurant, at home or ever!  That is horribly rude of them!!

ITA. Particularly with the bolded.

In my opinion, the only reason to have a set menu is if the restaurant requires it for parties over a certain size. Otherwise, you just trust your guests to act graciously and bite the bullet if they don't. I can only control how *I* behave and when I'm host, I try to be as gracious as possible. And in this case, it would mean not only paying for everything, but also encouraging everyone to get whatever they want.

And when the bill comes, don't scrutinize what everyone ordered or how much. Just pick a place with prices you're ok with and hand over your credit card when the time comes. Oh, and tip generously.

I've hosted large parties at restaurants before and this is exactly how I handled it. Worked out much better all around because I was able to relax and have fun at my own party rather than fret about what each person was ordering. I figured on a budget that was way more than I expected to pay, and when the bill came, I was pleasantly surprised.

Mammavan3

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Re: Is it rude to not advertise that we're paying?
« Reply #58 on: September 14, 2014, 08:21:16 PM »
It seems more people than not face dietary restrictions these days. I know that my family has myriad food allergies, lactose and gluten intolerance, and various others. Because of this, most restaurants are able to accommodate them fairly easily. A quiet word with the maître d' should be all that's necessary to provide a meal that any guest can eat.

As much as I love my family, I would never hold them up as modes of decorum and propriety. However, greedy over-ordering has never been a problem. When we've hosted at a restaurant, I've practically had to twist arms to encourage them to order a second drink. And these are people who enjoy a drink or three. If we eat out with my DD and DSIL, if I want to order an inexpensive option, I have to make sure I point out and recommend several more expensive ones I think they'll enjoy or they will follow my lead and order one of the least expensive choice even though we've told them repeatedly that's not necessary. (Sometimes I just WANT the pasta Bolognese.)

Most weddings venues here have a set price for cocktail hour, dinner and open bar. People feel free to drink as much as they want since it doesn't cost the hosts any more. When we attended a wedding recently and it became apparent that this time there was a bar tab, guests cut back substantially on their drinking.

What possesses people to take advantage of family and friends this way?  This is not a faceless corporation but people you will see over and over again in the future. How do you face them?