What is a "service charge" in the restaurant industry?

A service charge is a fixed percentage or flat fee added to a customer's bill by an establishment, such as a restaurant or hotel, to cover the cost of labor and other services. Unlike voluntary tips, service charges provide a more transparent and consistent pricing structure for customers. They are intended to ensure fair and stable wages for employees while reducing the need for tipping. The amount of the service charge is usually determined by the restaurant or hotel, and it is typically between 15% and 20% of the total bill.