‘Just sick of the crime’: Restaurants dealing with in an increase of people dining and dashing

It’s a problem restaurants around Winnipeg are dealing with – people ducking out without paying, leaving the business to foot the bill.

The Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association said it’s hearing about these types of incidents more and more and now some places are starting to take matters into their own hands.

“Not just in the amount of frequency, but the amount that the walkouts are for. So the brazen $200, $300 bill. Tables of five, six, seven, eight, 10,” said Shaun Jeffrey, the CEO of the association.

He believes those that dine and dash are planning ahead.

“We’re seeing people leave, you know, keys that they don’t use at the table, so it throws off the server. It’s unfortunate.”

He has also heard of instances of other customers stepping in to help.

“They’re just sick of the crime too. So we’re starting to see more and more customers say, ‘I don’t think so, that person’s walking out.’ Informing staff, letting them know those people didn’t pay and so forth.”

The owner of Four Crowns Restaurant said it’s tough to spot who is going to walk out on a bill.

“I can tell you that the people that are doing it aren’t the people who are coming here because they’re looking for a sandwich because they’re hungry,” said Ravi Ramberran, “It’s the people who are not afraid of consequences period.”

In the wake of the increase in dine and dashers, Ramberran said his restaurant has ramped up how they deal with it.

“We blast them on Facebook, we hold them, we make them wait for the cops…We do what’s in our power to do.”

He said that approach might not work for all establishments, citing safety concerns for staff and customers, but he does hope more restaurants take a stand.

“I never give them the benefit of the doubt. If you’re bold enough to walk out of here without paying, I’m bold enough to follow you.”

Jeffrey said the association is working on an education package to share with members.

“Making sure that we’re preparing ourselves everyday to come into a situation like and know what the signs are so we can kind of curb it ahead of time,” said Jeffrey.

He is encouraging restaurants to consider things like having more than one server working a table, however, says staff should never put themselves in harms way.

The Winnipeg Police Service said it does not track dine and dash incidents, but does say if there are threats or violence restaurants should call the police.

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