Dine and dash makes a return to Manchester hospitality

An update

We have removed the images from this article as the issue has now been resolved and the bill has been paid. If any restaurants have any issues like this in future, get in touch.

As the hospitality trade returns slowly but surely to its former self, so, unfortunately, do some of the shadier elements that look to scavenge from it. 

We’re talking about the phenomenon of "dine and dash", more formally known as doing a runner. Ordering and eating your meal - and then making off without payment.

We have always trusted our customers

While it’s always been a bugbear of the hospitality industry, this kind of crime seems especially deplorable when so many establishments are just about holding things together after a year of slings and arrows.

The spectacle of dining and dashing made a return on Saturday night (5 June) when two men left Amma’s Canteen without paying their bill.

Confidentials spoke to Suju from Amma’s Canteen, a Chorlton favourite that specialises in South Indian cuisine. He was audibly upset recalling the incident, telling me that it had been especially distressing for his wife Ganga. It wasn’t so much the money as it was a relatively small bill, he said, though every little helps at a time like this, but that people would so thoughtlessly abuse their hospitality.

Suju said he didn’t want to waste police time, and that he thought that they probably wouldn't be able to pursue it anyway, but that the incident had left them both really angry and upset.

“Every day we are not sure if we will be able to open, because of lockdowns, because of a member of the team getting sick. Something like this is a breaking point for us.”

170619 Ammas Chorlton
The incident happened a little after 10pm on Saturday night

“We have such good customers," added Suju. “We feel really lucky to have our local customers who support us and have been so helpful to us. They’ve been buying vouchers over lockdown and things like that, to help us keep going.

“Sometimes we have incidents like this where people forget their cards or similar, we have always trusted our customers and they’ve always come back to pay.” 

Ammas Canteen In Chorlton Night South Indian Restaurant Dine Dash Manchester
Amma's Canteen is popular with Chorlton locals

There was a notable incident last year when two men absconded from Piccolino’s with a hefty bill unpaid. One of the men had left their details on track and trace and so was caught. 

The pair who left Amma’s obviously had a couple more brain cells – Suju said they made a show of signing in on the app but it became clear later that they had not, which goes some way to demonstrate intent to deceive. Though hospitality businesses are meant to ensure customers sign in, in practice that is very difficult. 

While not seeking prosecution, Suju told us he just wanted to warn other restaurants and pubs about these two men.

“This and no shows are such a huge problem. When restaurants are under such strain it really is a breaking point.”

Read next: The best things to eat in (and near) Manchester - June 2021

Read again: 'The industry is at breaking point' - hospitality staffing crisis hits North West

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And a word from the Gaffer...

So, this pair of likely lads must be at home having a bit of a laugh.

Bill and Ben, a couple of nobs have come into a family-run (and truly excellent by the way) restaurant, sat down, didn’t fill in the track and trace, got what they ordered and then just left.

Without paying.

This is a family business that has held on for dear life during the pandemic and just managed to re-open.

God bless them, they didn’t want to call the police as they ‘didn’t want to make a fuss’.

I do. Let’s find them and get them in front of the beak. I’ll offer £200 reward to anyone who can tell me who these two are. I’ll make sure the police follow it up.

Email me mark@confidentials.com with info.

And restaurants, any problems tell me, we’ll work together to make w*nkers like these two pay the piper.

By the way boys, if you just forgot, drop the cash in, apologise to the lovely Ganga and we’ll be done with it.