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Fox Business
Fox Business
7 Sep 2023


A Florida restaurant owner has employed a new tactic for taking on "dine-and-dashers" after his restaurant faced numerous incidents of guests running off without paying. 

Rick’s on the River owner Ken Brackins detailed the "successful" strategy where he posts security footage of the perpetrators online and confronts the dashers face-to-face.

"We take the time to get some film where they walked in and where they're sitting and eating. We paste it all together and then sometimes we'll put it to music and post it up on Facebook and it seems to be very popular," Brackins said on "Varney & Co." Thursday.

"Then somebody will inevitably recognize the people, give us a call or an email and tell us who they are. So we find out who they are and we give them a day or so to come in and make it right. And generally they'll come in and pay."

Security footage (Background) Ken Brackins (center)

Rick's on the River owner Ken Brackins details his efforts to confront "dine-and-dashers" by posting security footage of perpetrators online. (Ken Brackins/Fox News)

The Florida restaurant is an "inexpensive" joint, but Brackins explained there are still groups who manage to run up the bill and make a speedy exit to avoid paying. 

By posting videos online of the culprits, Brackins is able to catch the perpetrators in the act and call on the local community to help track down the "dine-and-dashers" without involving the police. 

"We use this as also a deterrent," Brackins said on "Fox & Friends" 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."

Typically, once confronted, the guests comply and are willing to pay despite the public humiliation. 

"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 on "Fox & Friends." 

Brackins also shared a recent incident with one woman driving a Mercedes-Benz who pushed back when she was caught trying to ditch the scene without paying. 

"I happened to be right out next to her, and she even knocked her pitcher over, and she said that the pitcher was full when it clearly only had a few ounces. We gave her another draft and that still wasn't good enough," he told host Stuart Varney.

"She tried to sneak out and the waitress alerted my manager and he went out and tried to collect the money from her. She said that half of the pitcher was full, but we just had a hurricane come through here, Stuart, last week, and there was no pitchers blown off the table."

The woman in the Mercedes-Benz still refused to pay up even after the altercation.

Sadly, Brackins observed dining and dashing is an all too common reality for restaurant owners in his area and the U.S.

"That's a common thing over here in the States. Dine-and-dash, eat it and beat it, steal a meal, drink and slink, you name it. That's what they do," he said. 

Even still, Brackins' viral tactic has been a roaring success.

"We've successfully collected on 11 out of the last 12 incidents. So it's been pretty successful," Brackins said on "Varney & Co." Thursday. 

FOX News' Bailee Hill contributed to this report.