More people leaving bars and restaurants without paying

The number of customers leaving bars and restaurants without paying is on the rise. According to recent figures, the number of incidents of people leaving without paying for their meal and/or drinks has risen by 15% over the past year. The organisation that self-employed people NSZ cites the economic crisis and the smoking ban as reasons for the increase.

The number of recorded cases of customers leaving bars or restaurants without paying went up from 547 in 2011 to 629 in 2012, a rise of 15%. NSZ says that this is particularly problematic as those that don’t pay for their food and drink are hardly if ever caught.

A spokesman told the VRT that "Around half of businesses succeed in catching someone attempting to leave without paying every now and again, one in five never succeed in doing so.”

The NSZ spokesman adds that the increase in the number of people leaving bars and restaurants without paying is increasing as a result of the economic crisis and the smoking ban in bars and restaurants.

“As a result of this customers have to go outside to smoke which means that it’s easier to get away.”

A growing number of bars and restaurants are now asking their customers to pay straight away to prevent them from leaving without paying. There aren’t many other options “a bar or restaurant can hardly employ someone just to permanently keep an eye on a terrace or the pavement.”