Florida restaurant owner shames a dozen ‘dine and dash’ customers into paying up after posting videos of them on social media – including one in a brand new Mercedes
- Ken Brackins installed 16 security cameras outside of his restaurant Rick’s on the River to catch ‘dine and dashers,’ and then started sharing footage on Facebook
- The system seems to be working, as Brackins caught over a dozen dashers who eventually paid their bill, including many who begged him to delete the videos
- In the latest video posted last week, an employee confronts a woman in a Mercedes in the parking lot over an unpaid beer tab
Ken Brackins, a second-generation owner of the Virginia establishment, is now shaming customers into paying their bill by sharing footage of them on social media.
The system seems to be working, as Brackins has caught over a dozen dashers who eventually paid their bill – with many begging him to delete the videos.
‘You’re going to get caught,’ Brackins told the Tampa Bay Times. ‘And then you are going to pay me.’
Around two years ago, Brackins installed 16 security cameras outside the establishment. He told the Tampa Bay Times that he then started sharing footage on Facebook, showcasing instances of patrons attempting to dine and dash.
In the latest video posted last week, an employee confronts a woman in a Mercedes in the parking lot over an unpaid beer tab. Accompanied by circus music, the video provides a closeup of her face and captures her license plate.
It has gained significant attention on social media, garnering nearly 9,000 views and hundreds of comments, mostly supporting Brackins’ unconventional method and condemning the customer.
The captions reads: ‘This latest dine and dasher spent her beer money on a fancy, late model Mercedes. She refused to pay her entire tab because she said the wind blew over her pitcher of beer. There were only a few ounces of beer on the deck. True story.’
Brackins told Dailymail.com that the feedback he has received after positive the video has been ‘overwhelmingly positive.’
Since he installed the cameras, he has seen a decrease in the amount of dashers.
Also, Brackins said other restaurants have contacted him regarding serial dine and dashers.
‘We believe it’s been a deterrent for those that have been caught. They’re embarrassed and hopefully won’t do it again in the future,’ he told the Dailymail.com.
The unpaid tabs for those involved have sometimes reached several hundred dollars. Despite this, Brackins has chosen not to involve the police, considering it a low-priority issue in comparison to more significant crimes.
‘They have a lot to do. I don’t want to bother them for this.’
He did, however, post a sign in his shop, warning customers that the crime of dining and dashing has a penalty of a second-degree misdemeanor through a third-degree felony.
‘I think she is sticking to her story that it wasn’t really a dine and dash and didn’t owe the tab,’ Brackins said to Tampa Bay Times.
Overall, Brackins said he has seen success with his system.
Since its implementation, Brackins said he has caught over a dozen ‘dine and dashers’ with the cameras who have eventually paid their bill.
‘We’ve shared approximately 10 dine and dash posts. Nine of the 10 have resulted in the culprits coming in and settling their tabs,’ Brackins told Dailymail.com.
‘But I would say that 100% of them that come back and pay, don’t tip,’ Brackins said to the Tampa Bay Times. ‘And they also want to call in a payment with a credit card. But I make them come in. They always seem to have an excuse for why they forgot to pay.’
‘We’ve had a family member call us and turn them in,’ Brackins said. ‘I’d guess they are embarrassed.’
‘I have people call and be like, ‘Hey, I paid, can you take it down?’ They get very angry. They say they are going to sue me. They are not coming down. That’s the consequences of it. It’s like the modern Scarlet Letter.’
Not only does the system seem to be working, viewers also seem to be getting a kick out of the almost comical videos. Others express rage toward the criminal customers.
‘Make an example of her,’ one user commented on the video of the woman in a Mercedes.
‘Got her tag. Now charge her,’ another emphasized.
‘She can afford to drive a Mercedes Benz but won’t pay a food bill. ? Shameful,’ another wrote. ‘Love it when these entitled are called out! Bravo!’
The act of ‘dining and dashing’ has risen across the globe.
British politician and Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones said there had been a recent surge in the number of ‘outrageous’ dine-and-dash offenses.
‘It’s a crime that is growing,’ she said. ‘This could be down to the cost-of-living crisis. But there is no excuse for people to go to a restaurant, have a three-course meal and bottle of wine and then not pay for it. It’s outrageous.’
‘From what we can see, those who tend to do this tend not to be typical thieves who are drug or alcohol dependent. They’re driving away in their own cars.’
‘It’s an appalling crime, particularly when people are struggling to pay bills and keep businesses afloat. I’d urge people to share images online as many business owners have done and to name and shame those individuals.’