Run, and we will find you and bill you

YOUR BILL, SIR?: Owner of Bella Venezia Restaurant in Mooloolaba, Todd Young, says bill runners are rare and often caught.
YOUR BILL, SIR?: Owner of Bella Venezia Restaurant in Mooloolaba, Todd Young, says bill runners are rare and often caught. Brett Wortman

DOING the dine'n'dash is in the news after social media helped tracked down two French travellers who skipped out on a $230 bill in Western Australia.

But thankfully for local restaurateurs it doesn't appear to be a common practice on the Coast.

Bella Venezia Restaurant and Bar owner Todd Young said the Mooloolaba venue experienced "runners" on average once every six months.

Their last dine'n'dash was in December.

"We have CCTV cameras throughout the premises so when these occurrences do happen, we can send recorded footage to the police and take it from there," he said.

"Others without CCTV would be more prone to runners."

Mr Young said they were usually able to recoup 50% of their losses through police tracking offenders down.

With staff more "proactive" with customers who racked up very large bills, Mr Young said the average bill of those who ran off was between $150 to $200.

"It is a real pain in the neck and a waste of resources (to track them down)," he said.

"Sometimes they make it easier as they book and leave their name and contact details, or our staff might recognise one of the party and can inform police who they are."

While some are brazen enough to literally run from their seats, others use the excuse of going to the toilet or heading out for a cigarette and do not return.

Jim Berardo of Berardo's Restaurant and Bar said he had only experienced one dine'n'dash and that was 12 years ago.

"We had one when we first opened," he said.

"A well dressed older couple had a massive bill of about $300 with a bottle of Champagne and a French red.

"They signed the bill and walked out and everyone thought they had signed the credit card slip."

Alfie's Mooo Char and Bar manager Leigh Kearns said dishonest diners were a rarity on the Sunshine Coast.

"Everyone's very honest and we have a lovely community where everyone knows everyone, so you wouldn't do that in your backyard."

Topics:  fraud theft

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