Speaking of tips, I recently had dinner with my family at the Olive Garden in Southgate. I had met my brother and his family and my dad joined us to make a total of 8 of us, 3 of which were children. We had a very nice meal, not exactly what we ordered as the waitress didn't write things down and didn't quite get it right but it was good and we didn't complain until the bill came and a 20% gratuity had been added. The meal itself wasn't bad but the service had not been good. We had to wait almost 20 minutes for the waitress to come close enough to our table to wave her over and throughout the meal, the service continued to be just so-so.
Was it because we had a larger party and the gratuity would be included at the end of the meal? Do waitresses not really have to try so hard when they know a tip will be added on to the bill at the end and not just rewarded accordingly based on service? I don't know that this was the case on that particular day but after leaving the restaurant I called and spoke with a manager and she offered us compensation and invited us back.
A few weeks later, my family decided to give it another shot. This time a new manager was on duty and he could not have been ruder. Before we'd even been seated he verbally attacked my mother for allowing my daughter to hold the buzzer that lets you know when it's your turn to be seated. Then he pointed out that although we were to be compensated with a certain number of meals, drinks and appetizers would not be included. That was perfectly acceptable to us all, however, the way in which he told us was not at all. The food was good, as always, but the service, as always was pretty bad. In fact, my dad mentioned that the service for our "free meal" was worse than the meal that got us the free meal.
After about THREE hours, we finally left the restaurant, happy with the company we shared, full on a delicious meal and completely annoyed that it had once again taken our entire afternoon just to have a meal together. We over tipped our waitress for the bad service she provided, and only out of some strange obligation we felt.
So, if you're looking for a place to dine on delicious food and you have hours to waste doing so, enjoy - but be prepared to wait, and wait, and wait - for everything from a seat, drinks, bread, food - just about everything but the bill!