I will stay in a hotel at Evanston, IL. This is my second trip to US. I don't need to tip anyone in my home country, so the US tipping practice causes me headache. For the first day, I might request in-room dining service.

Should I tip the staff member bringing in the meal? How should I tip him/her? Giving $1 dollar bills to him outright? How much should I tip?

2 Answers 2


In the US hotels I stay in, room service dining typically includes a service charge and delivery charge with wording such as:

All Room Service Orders are Subject to State and Local Taxes, a Delivery Charge of $3.50, and a Service Charge of 22%. The Service Charge Includes Gratuity.

Being the USA, there will normally be an extra space for yet another tip. Feel free to draw a line through it.


Typically in-room dining is charged to the room. The person who delivers it will hand you a slip of paper to sign. There will be room on this slip to add a tip. You don't know if that tip will go entirely to the person delivering your food, or be pooled with other people in the same department, but tipping that way is the norm.

If you prefer, you could leave that line blank and hand cash to the person delivering, I'm sure it would not be refused.

If the hotel adds a 10% or 15% charge for in-room dining, the menu will tell you so. This technically means you don't need to tip, but it's considered a "required" tip anyway. I usually add another 15% on the slip. In room dining is expensive, and if adding a tip to it makes unrealistic for you, then best to go out and get some food.

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