POPULAR Central pub and grub the Stage Door’s name-and-shame threat on Facebook has paid off, with the restaurant recovering the R700 it lost when a group of diners bolted without paying.
The weekend diners were threatened with embarrassment, in the form of CCTV footage posted to the social media site, should they not settle the bill.
Stage Door owner Warwick Ofsowitz said yesterday two of the patrons had contacted him and said they had been invited to dinner by friends and had been called away to a family emergency when their dining companions decided to do a runner.
The threat to name and shame the errant foursome was made on Sunday after they disappeared without settling the bill the night before.
It is believed the couple, who have since paid up, had left 45 minutes before the remaining pair.
Following the non-payment, staff at the Stage Door posted the following message on Facebook: “The people who sat at the 1st high table in the restaurant last night and walked out without paying your bill NOTE – you have until 6pm tomorrow Monday 8th to come in and pay.
“Failing which a charge of bilking will be laid with the SA Police Service and once done your photographs from the CCTV will be published.”
The restaurant followed through on the threat, posting the pictures on Monday evening.
The photographs prompted residents to call in and identify the customers.
The pair who paid also phoned the restaurant.
Manager Nicholas Ofsowitz said he was happy the bill had been paid and thanked the public for the support they had shown the restaurant.
“The positive thing to come out of this is the community rallying together, and stepping up against this kind of behaviour. It has gotten people to step up and take action.
“There is an incredible amount of people who shared and liked the article,” he said.
“There is zero tolerance to this kind of behaviour, but that is the cost of doing business.”
Police confirmed that a charge had been laid by the restaurant, but said the investigation was still ongoing.
Cases of customers walking out without paying their bills appears to be a growing trend in Nelson Mandela Bay, with four restaurants confirming yesterday they too had fallen prey to the practice.
Cubana Latino Caffé and Havana Lounge operations manager Dan Molaoa said in the last year they had had so many incidents they had lost count.
Lungile Twana, day shift manager at Angelo’s Cafe in Summerstrand, and staff at Bluewaters Cafe in Summerstrand and Two Olives in Richmond Hill said they, too, had experienced incidents where customers had left without paying.