Restaurant Owners Unite To Snare Free-Lunch Scam Artist

There are hundreds of restaurants in St. Louis, which would seem like a ton of potential targets for a scam artist. But one bad consumer didn’t take into account that the owners of these eateries actually know each other — and that they talk about the customers who try to pull one over on them.

The Riverfront Times has a lengthy story on how this mouse trap was put into place, but it basically goes like this:

The owner of one restaurant was telling his pals about a guy who called up complaining about the three grilled chicken sandwiches he’d ordered for takeout earlier in the day.

Except his restaurant doesn’t serve grilled chicken.

The friends, restaurant owners themselves, said this same guy (his name was confirmed by called ID) had pulled one over on them by complaining about a pair of burgers he claimed to have purchased. He scored a $25 gift card for his efforts. But when he tried a second time, saying his turkey sandwich had been screwed up, the owner checked her computer and found that no order existed, so she refused to give him anything.

Yet another restaurant owner chimed in about the scammer. She said she was pretty sure he hadn’t ordered the sandwiches he was griping about, but she’d initially promised she would comp him so she made good on that, though she charged him for his soup and drink.

Hearing about these incidents, the owner who’d been accused of screwing up chicken sandwiches his restaurant could not have made decided, “I’m going to f*ck with this guy just for fun.”

He had told the customer to come in the next day to get his free sandwiches, but when the man showed up to collect, the owner mentioned that he’d been talking to some other restaurateurs and asked the customer, “Has this ever happened to you before?”

That’s when the man suddenly pulled out his credit cards and offered to pay.

“You’ll pay double,” the owner recalls telling the customer. “And you’ll leave a large tip.”

He also told the man to go back to the other eateries he’d scammed to repay those businesses, but that he apparently has not.

The owner took the man’s photo and confirmed it’s the same guy who has scammed, or attempted to scam, the other restaurants in town.

Busted! Scamwich Artist Unmasked by Local Restaurant Owners [Riverfront Times]

Thanks to Tracey for the tip!