I love Libretto's and hadn't been there in a while but decided to go while I waited for my iPhone to be repaired. They have a great lunchtime special - $15 for salad, pizza and dessert. I arrived at about noon on a weekday and the place was about 1/2 full. There were tons of serving staff. The waitress was very pleasant and smiley and I immediately ordered as soon as I sat down. She brought water immediately and then 10 minutes later some bread and olive oil. A couple sat down beside me right then and also ordered.Then another 10 minutes went by, Finally I motioned her to come over and asked if the salad was going to be coming. She said it wouldn't be long. 5 minutes later it came out, delivered by someone else. 25 minutes is kind of a ridiculous time to wait for a small arugula salad with some shaved pears and parmesan, no?
My pizza came out about 10 minutes later, again by another staff member, along with the pizza for the couple beside me (they had no appetizer). I gobbled it up quite quickly as I was starving and the waitress came by a bit later and asked what I wanted for dessert. I asked for the gelato (they give you one big scoop in a glass). Well that took 15 minutes to arrive, yet again by another staff member! It takes 15 minutes to scoop up one scoop of ice cream into a glass?
During the whole episode my waitress must have walked by a hundred times. Anyway, i asked for the bill because I didn't want to wait even longer for that. Yet another person came out with it and one of those handheld credit card machines (which I am not very fond of). The automatic tip button on the machine was hard-coded at 17% (of the after tax amount). WTF? Why tip on the after-tax amount? They never got that when the taxes were lower and it has nothing to do with them. Also, why 17%? Why increase it from the standard 15%? Anyway, I was so peeved about the very slow service and that 17% button I tipped 10% before tax to send them a message. In fact any time I see a tip button that is more than 15% I am going to tip less than 15%! And, yeah yeah I know it may not have been her personal fault about the slow service but if it wasn't she could have put a bit of a bug in the ear of the kitchen staff about the salad and dessert. ANyway, the fact is restaurants share tips so all are involved in ensuring good quality food and prompt service. Lastly, maybe she could have had the presence of mind to apologize or explain why the service was oh...so..........slow...
Has the service level gone down at this place or did I just happen to have a bad experience? And what's with 17% of after-tax amount hard-coded as a tip? I bet most people just hit the button because they don't want to look cheap especially when they have to hand the terminal right back to the server instead of before when you just sign the credit card slip and ran out the door. Psychological studies do show that the main reason people leave adequate and sometimes high tips is not because they think the tipee deserves it but because they don't want to look cheap, especially in front of others.