This iOS App Helps You Split Your Complicated Dinner Bill

Alyssa Bereznak
National Correspondent, Technology
February 28, 2014

Everyone knows that one dinner guest. You know, the guy who pulls up to an eight-person meal, slurps down seven specialty cocktails and, when the plates are cleared, eagerly suggests that you split the bill evenly. The new iOS app, Plates, is here to put a stop to his kind by helping you to quickly and painlessly divvy up restaurant meal bills. So you’ll never have to chip in for a drunk acquaintance’s Long Island ice tea again.

This is how it works:

1. Download the app on iOS here. Open it.

2. You’ll be shown a horizontal default screen that’s meant to mimic what your current meal situation might look like. It starts with two plates but allows you to add as many as 10 people to the table.

3. Every time you add another person, a new plate appears. When you’re all finished, tap Next

4. Then you’ll be asked to enter the raw total before complicating factors like tax and tip.

5. Then enter the tax.

6. Now for the meaty part. PUN INTENDED. SORRY, VEGETARIANS. You’ll be given the option to either split the entire bill equally (it’ll tell you how much that will cost per person) or you can Enter bill items separately and assign them to different plates. Choose the latter. Don’t let that moocher dude get away with all those free cocktails.

7. When entering items separately, you must first punch in the total of the dish. You can then drag that expense to the plate of the person who ordered and ate it. 

This is a fictitious meal, and I’m still feeling giddy about doling out the $15 drink expenses to Mr. Purple Plate up top. 

8. If several people shared a dish, then you can drag it to the center plate.

9. From there, you can tap the plates of the people who split the dish. I suppose it’s up to you to decide if “eating a bite or two … just to taste” counts as sharing something. Be strong; be firm.

10. As you’re splitting up items in the bill, the remaining total will be displayed at the center of the table. You can choose to just split the rest of the bill at any time.

11. Once you do that, Plate will show the final individual amount everyone will have to pay on each plate. Note that the plates are color-coded to avoid confusion/foul play. The subtotal, along with tax and suggested tip, will also appear on the left side of the screen. You can adjust the amount you’d like to tip by tapping it.

12. A little wing will pop out from the left, and you can move the tip percentage up or down by dragging it with your finger.

13. Finally, when you’re all done, you can tap Share to email or message the details of this laborious process to your dining companions.

That’s it. Go try it out on all your deadbeat friends and see what happens. You may not be very popular for making them wait through the Plates process, but you’ll probably be a little bit richer for it.

Alyssa Bereznak can be reached at You can follow her on Twitter at @alyssabereznak.