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Is Giving A Tip In Restaurants Optional Or Legally Compulsory?

Image Source: lunopark @ Shutterstock

Deciding on an appropriate tip for a restaurant can be challenging. Many restaurants provide a suggested tip calculation at the bottom of the bill, making it easy for customers to leave a tip for the server. However, it’s important to note that this is a suggestion, not a mandatory charge.

Customers are not required by law to leave a tip

Abe Cohn of Cohn Legal PLLC and Jordan Bernstein, an attorney representing chefs and hospitality practices, both emphasize that tipping is not legally mandated. According to the IRS, tips are defined as something extra that customers can choose to give at their discretion.

Service charge can be added by the restaurant

Some may mistake the automatic service charge as a tip, but it is actually a revenue for the restaurant, not necessarily for the employee. While it is legal for restaurants to include this fee, it is not necessarily money that goes to the server.

Specific regulations vary by location

The laws governing service charges are regulated by the Department of Labor and the IRS. Depending on the location of the restaurant, different laws and regulations will dictate what is required.

It’s important to note that tipping laws and regulations may vary by state, and when dining internationally, it is essential to understand the tipping etiquette for each specific region.

Image Source: lunopark @ Shutterstock

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