Serving Up the Truth Behind Service Charges on Your Check

Ever since tip credit elimination proposals have been introduced in states and cities across the country, customers everywhere are noticing more and more fees added to their dining bills.

But what exactly are service charges? Are they the same as tips? Do they go to your restaurant server or bartender? Why are they suddenly everywhere? is a new resource demystifying the new rise in service charges around the country. The site answers these basic questions and more, as more and more dining establishments add new fees as a last resort to help adjust to higher hourly wages and elimination of tip credits.

Service charges:

  • Are not the same as tips.
  • Are not legally required to be given to tipped employees.
  • Add extra cost to dining checks that make tipping harder and less affordable.
  • Are generally opposed by restaurant operators and employees over traditional tipping.
  • Are already hurting servers’ income in places like Washington, D.C. which just voted to eliminate its tip credit.
  • Are a direct consequence of tip credit elimination policies.

Most recently, cities including Washington, D.C. and Chicago have voted to eliminate their tip credits. As a result, hundreds of restaurants have announced they will be forced to implement service charges to stay open and keep servers and bartenders employed.

Learn more about how these charges affect you and local restaurant employees at