Winnipeg Restaurants Fight Rise in Dine-and-Dash Incidents


Restaurants around Winnipeg are grappling with a burgeoning issue of customers absconding without settling their bills, forcing the businesses to bear the cost. The Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association has noted an uptick in such incidents, prompting some establishments to devise their own mitigation strategies.

Shaun Jeffrey, CEO of the association, outlined the gravity not only in the rising frequency of such incidents, but also the surmounting totals that these unpaid bills are beginning to amount to. He described how patrons would blatantly walk out on bills reaching hundreds of dollars. The audacity of these ‘diners and dashers’ seemed to portray a pattern of premeditated actions. Jeffrey commented, “We’re observing people leave innocuous items like unused keys on their table, an act meant to distract the waiting staff.”

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There have also been instances of altruistic customers assisting in curbing this issue. Increasingly, people, tired of such crime, are alerting staff when they notice customers leaving without paying.

Ravi Ramberran, owner of Four Crowns Restaurant, voiced the difficulty in identifying potential bill evaders. In an effort to quell the rising tide of these offences, his establishment has intensified their measures to confront those who dine and dash. “We publicize these cases on Facebook, detain them and summon the police,” Ramberran stated.

He acknowledged that such a reactive approach might not be viable for all restaurants due to safety concerns for staff and customers. Nevertheless, he expressed the hope that more restaurants would refuse to tolerate such actions.

Jeffrey stated that the association is developing an education package to distribute among members, equipped with guidelines for spotting early signs of potential ‘dine and dash’ incidents. He urged restaurants to weigh options such as having multiple waiters serve a table while prioritizing staff safety.

Although the Winnipeg Police Service does not specifically monitor dine and dash occurrences, they urge establishments to report any related threats or violent incidents immediately.