I've noticed that most hotels with room service now charge a delivery fee (~$3) and a service charge (~21%) in addition to sales tax and on top of exorbitant markups on the food itself.

A simple burger can run you $30 with all this nonsense and I feel like it is piling on to expect a tip too, but I don't want the hotel employee to get shorted just because the hotel is getting greedy.

My question is this: Is it customary to tip for room service in addition to the service and delivery fee? Or are these fees a form of mandatory tip? For anyone who has worked in room service, does any of the service or delivery fee go to the kitchen staff/delivery person?

  • 30 bucks for a burger ? Buoy! Me thinks its time me asked for a raise :) Aug 28 '13 at 14:38
  • 1
    Okay, maybe a bit of exaggeration, but I've seen $18 for a burger/fries + $3 delivery fee + 8% tax + 21% service charge. If you are expected to throw in an additional tip on top of that it really ads up. That's why I usually just call out for a pizza delivery instead.
    – JohnFx
    Aug 29 '13 at 18:38

In general if there is a "Service Fee", then this is the same thing as a tip. This is not the same as a "Room Service Fee", which is NOT the same as a tip.

Generally a "service fee" will be a percentage of the total, normally around 15-20%, whereas the "Room Service Fee" (sometimes referred to as a plate fee, a tray fee, delivery fee or something similar) is normally a fixed fee in the $3-6 range.

Frequently the room service menu will actually describe the various fees, and will include details such as that the service fee is "distributed to the staff", or similar - which is your indication that it is a tip.

Normally there will still be a line on the receipt for an additional tip. This is NOT mandatory, and is generally NOT expected. If the server has done something extraordinary for you then you have the option to add an additional tip.

  • (I was never in the US.) Can you give an example about what you speak when saying "extraordinary"?
    – guest
    Aug 5 '19 at 17:18
  • @guest I'm from the UK and the word is quite self explanatory, anything that they do that is beyond their job description or going out of the way to help you when they don't need to
    – Matt
    Aug 12 '19 at 17:54
  • I am asking because I don't no the job description of servers -- I don't know what I could ask for example from.them which could be extraordinary.
    – guest
    Dec 9 '19 at 6:51
  • @Matt: I am sorry but I really don't understand tipping culture that much. Nor do I know how to look up a server's job description (which is probably different in every restaurant?) In my country, we tip usually 10%, less if the food was bad or the server was unfriendly. I honestly don't know what an extraordinary thing they couls do or how they could help you (probably a cultural issue).
    – guest
    Jan 29 '20 at 19:18

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