Waitress Fired For Dine and Dash? Hell, No!

We're not gonna take it anymore.

We’re not gonna take it anymore.

Let’s talk about one of the shittiest things known to servers, the dine and dash. A dine and dash is when the lowest form of pond scum comes into a restaurant, orders a shit ton of food and then leaves without paying. It’s stealing. No two ways about it, it is stealing and too many times the server is the one who has to pay the price, quite literally. In many circumstances, a restaurant will make the server cough up the cost of the check because god forbid the restaurant takes any responsibility for the profit and loss of running a business. Earlier this week, a waitress in New York City was the victim of a dine and dash and when her boss told her that she would need to cover the $96 check, she pulled a Norma Rae on his ass, climbed up on a soap box and decided to fight the good fight. According to Gothamist, Suzanne Parratt, was fired from New York City’s Pig N Whistle on Tuesday night when three guests left without paying. Well, I spoke with Suzanne Parratt and got the story straight from her because I wanted to know what went down.

Suzanne has been in the business for 17 years doing everything from waiting tables to expediting food to managing fine dining. She knows the ropes and she also knows that it is illegal to make a server pay for a walked check. She has since obtained legal counsel, so she is unable to go into a lot of details, but she still had plenty of words for me.

She tells me that the Pig N Whistle is a pooled house so she was helping to take care of a co-worker’s table while he was on a break. She was no further than six or seven feet away and “within earshot” of the assholes’ table when all of a sudden they were gone. Their check had not even been printed yet. She knew that it was going to be an issue and when she asked her boss what they were going to do about the check he told her, ‘If that check is not covered, this will be your last night in the building.” It was her last night in the building. When she told him, “I am not paying this, it is not my responsibility,” she was fired.

“We (servers) are hard working people but we’re exploited. We are intimidated. That money would have come out of my budget for groceries or a Metro Card,” she told me. Suzanne posted her issue on Reddit the night she was fired and the next thing she knew Gothamist was calling to hear her story.

In addition to having a lawyer, Suzanne has contacted the Division of Labor Services in New York City where she has filed a complaint. She assures me she is not doing this for the money and she most certainly does not want her old job back. She is doing it because she is tired of seeing hardworking servers being taken advantage of. She wants other severs to know that it is illegal to be fired for this. Of course, we all know how that goes:

“Oh, we’re not firing you because that table walked out on their check, we’re firing you because you broke a coffee cup three weeks ago. Ummm, yeah, that’s the reason, uh huh.”

We have all had to deal with a walkout. Sometimes you have an understanding manager who will void the check because he knows that some people suck. But how many of us have reached into our aprons and paid for the walkout? I’ve done it. We all have because it’s easier to pay it then get fired and spend the next three weeks trying to find another job. It’s not fair and we should not fucking take it anymore. If I had to pay for a $96 check, that might be more than I would have made that night to begin with. And we all know that if a customer complained enough about a phantom hair in the food or that they didn’t like their steak, the manager would just void off $96 without even thinking about it, but when it comes to a walk-out, it’s suddenly our responsibility?

We have to share this article. We have to let restaurant managers and owners know that we know it is not legal for them to make us pay when some slimy piece of shit walks out on their check when we are busy running food, making coffee, boxing up leftovers, taking orders, seating customers, answering the phone, rolling silverware, setting tables and whatever else the fuck we are doing when we are at work. We are not fucking babysitters and we should not have to assume that every table is going to leave without paying and hover six inches away from every customer.

“I will not be on the streets,” Suzanne assures me. She will find another job and I know she will find one that will treat her with the respect and dignity that all servers deserve. She already has some leads and will be back in her apron in no time.

If you are being taken advantage of at your workplace, contact your local Division of Labor Services. They will help you. We cannot let this bullshit continue. When a customer walks out on their check it is the restaurant’s responsibility to cover that check, not the server. Fuck that. And fuck the Pig N Whistle too.

34 thoughts on “Waitress Fired For Dine and Dash? Hell, No!

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    Reply
  2. Joey B

    Working at Denny’s in Hollywood back in the day – I was a”key person” – meaning on top of taking care of my section I had to ring up any other servers transaction . I guess having cashier was to expensv for a greedy corp asshole pigs . When I had a walk out ( and trust me I was told this by my mgr ) I had to ” go get’em ” . That entailed me running down Sunset Blv and grabbing the asshole by the sleeve and collecting the money . Yea , I scruffed a guy once or twice , practically shook the money outta them . What was I going to do ? Loose my job ? My ” mgr ” said to me – you gotta be a little faster … I said -buy me a skateboard , I’m jeopardizing my LIFE for ur 9.95 check , u scum !!!!How dare they!!! 3 Am and I’m grabbing some psycho on Sunset to collect the money ?Really ? And then get the threats in the office for the ones that got away ?I can’t believe that this is allowed in this day and age .I have witnesses to this & all this really happened .

    Reply
  3. Linda

    I just got fired after 18 years in the business (3 at my job I just lost as manager/server and 15 yrs at my last job only left because they closed down)for the exact same thing I spoke up and now Im unemployed. I could’ve paid but I know its illegal and spoke up. All over a $63 theft that I did not casuse.

    Reply
  4. Jessi

    When I was 19 and waiting tables, only a few months into the job at that restaurant, I had a dine and dash. The service manager pulled me aside and told me that company policy was to make me pay for it. It was about $40 or so for a two top and I started crying because that was about how much I’d made in tips so far that night (it was a slow week night.) She told me the restaurant would comp the meal as soon as she saw the tears.

    The guys came in a few weeks later and I served them again. You can bet they paid that night because I was within 5-10 feet of the table at all times. I think I had arranged it with the other server to run my food for me and we had sat them right between the drink machine/bus station and the kitchen door.

    When the meal was done, the first guy/alpha male “went to the bathroom” and the second guy was visibly sweating. I just “cleaned” all the nearby empty tables while the second guy was sitting there. He eventually paid when he realized there would be no clean getaway, but I think he was sitting at the table alone for at least 15 minutes. We never saw the pair again after that.

    Reply
  5. DrTom4444

    I heard about this happening to a friend of mine and upon checking on it I was told that it was not Cracker Barrel’s policy to make a server pay for the check. She had to pay about $50 for a ‘dine and dash.’ So, is all of this true? I tend to believe you people over what I was told by Cracker Barrel. I hope I was not wrong for checking on this. I do not want anyone who works that hard serving to be hurt. It is so wrong of Cracker Barrel to do this sort of thing. Have anyone considered a class-action lawsuit?
    Concerned in Jacksonville

    Reply
  6. Tone

    The one who accrues the reward accepts the risk of doing business. They take out loans, they sign leases, they take on all that risk in hopes that they will do well and earn a profit. That’s why it’s called the risk of doing business. The owner reaps the profit, the owner bears the responsibility for loss. Putting this on the server is diabolical. What if people literally got up and ran out right in front of you? What are you supposed to do, tackle them to the floor? The more I read this blog the more I start to think that most restaurant owners are pond scum.

    Reply
  7. Nosila

    The restaurant where I work has had two walk-outs that I know of in the last month, one of which was my table. I saw it coming beforehand and did what I could to avoid it without actually hovering over them. My section was full so I basically just walked around it making sure everyone else didn’t need anything. One of the guys took their take out food out to the car and left the other guy to “pay”. I walked by a few times and asked if the bill was ready and each time, he said, “Not yet.” I literally stood by a computer hidden behind some plants and watched him through the plants like I was on safari. As soon as the guy got up, I went over to the table. The check book was hidden under a plate. I picked it up, realized it was empty, quickly walked the 20 feet to the host stand/front door and the guys were gone. If I was asked to pay the $58 bill? Yeah, that wouldn’t have happened. I did everything I could to avoid this. I can’t believe that some restaurants have the gall to ask the server to pony up because people are scumbags. There is not a snowball’s chance in hell that I would pay for someone else’s meal for that reason.

    Reply
  8. J.B.

    We had the fire alarm go off at our restaurant last week. And a few of the buildings around us. When we got to come back in, my manager had to comp $150 worth if food and drinks from people that just left instead of waiting to come back in. What is wrong with people??!!

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    I had a table walk on a $300 dollar tab once. They didn’t make me pay for it, but I was REEAAALLLLY pissed because it was literally more than half my sales that night.

    Reply
  10. Carlye

    I worked at an Irish pub on St. Patricks Day one year and they had some bullshit rule that on that day they would not void or comp anything, regardless of what happened. So when one family decided that they over-ordered too much food and sent back a plate of chicken tenders, I had to pay for it. When I accidentally rang in a bud light instead of a Budweiser, I had to pay for it. That is the only job that I have ever quit by no-call no-show.

    Reply
  11. Sharon

    What a horrible thing to do! You walk in and order food and leave without paying for it? That is stealing pure and simple. It is too bad they can’t find and charge these people. That is so low. To fire the server because someone is a thief is ridiculous. This is not a fair practice. Why would anyone want to wait tables if this is their payment for doing a good job…?

    Reply
  12. Jeff

    You might get better traction leaving comments and ratings on their Google page, rather than Facebook. Sorry I can’t link to it from my phone.

    Reply
  13. Maryann

    I never had this problem at the coffee shop, for clear reason – they paid before we started their drink. However,at least in California it was illegal to make an employee pay a deficency unless it could be shown that they were CLEARLY neglegent and had malice behind it. Or something like that.

    And coffee cup would be clear bullshit in my mind.

    Reply
  14. Jarandine

    That’s the risk you take when you become a waiter. Good luck trying to prove management that it’s illegal, no one cares anyway. You agreed to it when you started working there.

    Reply
    1. will

      Hey Jarandine – I bet you enjoy being a sociopath: looking down on everybody, having no conscience, no emotion or respect for anyone except yourself.

      Reply
    2. adam

      No. We didn’t. Sounds like you’ve done it and never have been in the business. Come to my restaurant and try it and we will call the cops and have you arrested.

      Reply
        1. emily h

          It’s theft, dumbass. Try it with me; our restaurant is the local “go to” for our neighborhood cops. I have seen them (dashers) arrested.

          Reply
        2. Nosila

          At a restaurant where I worked in college, a couple that had previously walked out on a check came back and was recognized by the waitstaff. The manager kicked them out and had the cops waiting for them outside. It is theft, sweetheart. And I’m not sure what part of the planet you’re from, but to my knowledge, theft is illegal everywhere.

          Reply
    3. DrTom4444

      I cannot see that anyone would agree to pay for someone else’s check when they leave without paying. It’s a criminal offense to leave without paying and the cops should be called when it happens so they can check the video tapes. They may even be able to see the tag number of the people’s car if they have an outside camera.
      Jacksonville, FL

      Reply
  15. Emma

    Thank goodness for my corporate chain restaurant! Walk outs happen, no matter what you do! We don’t have to pay even a penny of them! We have to fill out some paperwork when it happens, but that’s it. If you have more than one in a six week window (which I have never seen happen) you have to meet with management. But that’s as far as it goes.

    Reply
  16. connie

    Employers like this are why people form and join Unions. A broken coffee mug from weeks before won’t cut it. I know a jerk who dined and dashed so I called the restaurant and they “couldn’t do anything”. Hmmmm, couldn’t or wouldn’t?

    Reply
  17. Rick

    I am a manager for a large casual dining chain. I have worked every position in the business. I have had server have walk outs, and myself or my company would never make a server pay. Now if this server had multiple instances, of course they would be documented and terminated. But it doesnt happen much, and if it does, they always get a pass the first time. Never, ever make them pay though.

    BTW, I love this page, BW is a funny son of a gun and I have experienced many of the woes talked about here over the years! Keep it up Bitchy!

    Reply
  18. Gayle

    It’s dangerous to try to forcefully make a walkout pay for their check. I went after a couple who attempted to dine and dash while working at Mimi’s Cafe in Los Angeles. After I chased after them, blocking th driveway exit, they tried to run me over with their car trying to escape. It is wrong to hold a server responsible for dishonest guest and she can probably sue for unlawful termination.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Jane

      Gayle! I had an almost identical experience while trying to catch a dine and dasher! My manager almost wrote me up for following them, but I didn’t have to pay the tab cause I wasn’t being unattentive. It’s a stupid standard.

      Reply
  19. Kathy Bishop

    If someone shoplifts at a retail store does the salesperson have to pay for it? Do convenience store clerks or bank tellers get fired if they’re held up?The restaurant business…for crying out loud.

    Reply
  20. Valerie

    That is so awful. I have worked for a casual dining restaurant for more years then I care to admit and have never ever been asked to pay for a walk out. If it becomes a reoccurring thing you will be written up and can be terminated if you have a specific amount within a few months but I think that’s understandable. This is so awful I can’t think of anyone I know who is in the service industry that hasn’t had atleast one walk out the people who walk out are usually pros at it and gone before you can do a thing about it, what scum.

    Reply
  21. Krista

    When I served in a restaurant during university, I remember some assholes did the same thing to me. The bill was $80. My restaurant “did me a favour” and only made me pay for half. I was rolling cutlery in the back because it was a Sunday at 3 pm and dead and wanted to get side work done. Somehow this was my fault that I was doing my side duties while they walked out, and that was the reasoning behind me paying for half.

    I walked out with $0 that day and I had to buy a $90 chemistry text book the next. Not good.

    I should point out that it’s horrible that this is an INDUSTRY wide practice, and not just limited to certain geographies. I am in Canada and every restaurant I’ve worked at has expected that you pay as well. Unacceptable.

    Reply

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