It is a challenge to think of a valid tip to offer according to the price and quality of food. The restaurants usually include this helpful information at the bottom that shows the calculation of 5, 10, or 15 percent tip. This makes it is easy and useful to leave a tip to the server. But, when you look closer to the bill, it is a choice, and one should not mistake it to a mandatory bill.

There is no law for the customers to leave a tip

There is no such law, nor it’s made legal to leave a tip, says Abe Cohn, the Managing Partner of the Cohn Legal PLLC. Also, Jordan Bernstein, a Los Angeles-based attorney who represents chefs and hospitality practices, says that anything mandatory is not a tip. Further, the IRS defines tip as something extra that only customers can determine on their part.

Tips are not law or related to any legality that is made mandatory in a restaurant. If anything is mandatory, it is not a tip. Only the customer can determine as to what they are ready to offer as a tip.

The service charge can be included by the restaurant

Bernstein says that, as some people assume automatic service charges to be hints, this is actually a revenue to the restaurant and not necessarily the employee.  So it is technically not a “mandatory tip.”  And yes, it’s legal for restaurants to add this fee.

Servers don’t always understand the money from service charges or charges because restaurants aren’t required to pass that money onto employees, lawyer Scott Perlmuter explains.  Consider it as a cover charge than a tip for your server.  Put on the portion they give against their minimum wage obligations, and some restaurants do choose to give some of the money to servers, Perlmuter states.  Anything leftover goes to the restaurant.  This strategy is one of the reasons why service charges are currently gaining popularity. So although this fee increases the bottom line cost of your meal, it’s not necessarily money in the pocket of your server.  And it’s one of the things your server wishes they can tell you.

Particular principles depend on restaurant location

Service charges may be legal, but the Department of Labor and the IRS governs them, Perlmuter states. It is a simple yet important thing to realize that regulations, rules and laws regarding the functionality of restaurants depend upon the amount of local and authorities. Based on the location of the restaurant, it is, therefore, necessary that different laws will dictate what is necessary.

It is seen that there are a variety of laws about suggestions regarding credit per state and other rules concerning tips that are more complicated. If you are out of the country, you will need to understand these tipping etiquette rules from all over the world.


Tips are not mandatory, and if anything is mandatory, it is not necessarily a tip. A common misconception of mandatory tips is the service charge. But, service charge is the revenue of the restaurant that may be divided between the servers.