A broad array of fees get added to the bill at Las Vegas restaurants on the Strip. Vital Vegas repeatedly covered this phenomenon since 2016 when it alerted readers to “concession and franchise fees” added at restaurants such as Beer Park, Hexx Kitchen & Bar, and Alexxa’s Bar at Paris Las Vegas, Cabo Wabo Cantina at Planet Hollywood Resort, and Chayo Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar at the Linq Promenade. The fees fall in the neighborhood of 4.7 to 4.85 percent tacked on to the bill, and then taxed. JRS Hospitality owns all of those venues.
Now the Los Angeles Times takes a look at these fees and found that the restaurant staff refer to the fee as a “‘tourist tax’ assessed on every restaurant and bar along the Strip; most venues build the fee into the menu prices, they said, but some break it out separately to be more ‘transparent.’”
The thing is, that’s not accurate. As Scott Roeben at Vital Vegas tells the Times, “These are made-up fees, pure profit. They charge it because they think no one will question it, so they can get away with it.”
A spokesperson for Hexx and Alexxa tells the Times, “It is disclosed on the menu and receipt and represents a small percentage charge just above sales tax to partially offset increasing operations and labor costs in the high-impact resort corridor. As costs continue to rise, surcharges are becoming more common and necessary in the restaurant and hospitality industries to ensure a sustainable, fair working environment for all of our team members.”
While the fee is noted in very small print on the menus and again on the receipt, the money does not go toward taxes. The Times talked to Teri Williams, the public information officer for the Nevada Department of Business and Industry, who notes that while these fees are not illegal, state law neither requires nor addresses these surcharges.
When Mama Rabbit opened at the Park MGM, it started charging a 5 percent “service fee” that neighboring Juniper Cocktail Lounge incorporated on bills. At the time, an MGM Resorts spokesperson said the fee went to the service staff and the lounge.
Both venues stopped charging the fee in October after push back from customers.