A restaurant owner in Florida has taken proactive measures after his Tampa eatery was repeatedly hit by dine-and-dash culprits. He exposes them on social media and approaches them directly.
Ken Brackins, the proprietor of Rick's on the River, explained his reasons for uploading videos of these individuals on the internet and why he hasn't involved the police during an appearance on "Fox & Friends First."
"We use this as also a deterrent," Brackins told Ashley Strohmier on Thursday. "We're not really trying to… get the money as much as use as a deterrent… so they won't do it again or… we don't want those customers back."
"We always make them come back in and pay, that want to pay over the phone — but we make them do the walk of shame and come in and pay," he continued.
Brackins posted videos online confronting his "customers" after they fled the restaurant before paying their tab. He said most customers paid after being confronted, but one driving a Mercedes-Benz still refused to pay up even after the altercation.
While Brackins is exasperated by the incidents, he mentioned he hasn't approached the police for assistance, believing they have more pressing matters and are "too busy" to deal with dine-and-dash situations.
"They're too busy for this kind of nonsense," he said. "If it's something very large or something, or if they get combative, we would call the police. The police are way too busy. They've got more important things to do."
"This is not the first time they're doing this," he continued. "These people are very relaxed when they do it, and I've had many other venues around call and say, 'Hey, can you give me that person's name and number because they've been doing the same thing?' So they'll wait a few months and come back and do it again if you don't do something."
Strohmier inquired whether the majority supported him or if he faced criticism for exposing the dine-and-dashers on social media.
"I would say 98% of the people are on our side," Brackins said. "We've got some from all over the world where we get positive comments that they're cheering us on. I think they're sick of seeing the smash-and-grabs and nothing happening out on the left coast out there. So… we're trying to do our part."
"You get a few people that try to just… say that we're in the wrong," he continued. "But… hey, we're not the ones that are… trying to steal something, so if you don't want to be splashed all over social media, don't do it."
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