1 in 2 restaurants or pubs confronted with bilking last year

According to figures supplied by the NSZ, the Neutral Union of the Self-Employed, half of our pubs and restaurants was confronted with customers leaving without paying last year. The figure is 33 percent up compared to five years ago, and is in line with police figures, the NSZ states. 

"Dining and dashing" or "drinking and dashing": it is often done on very busy places, but the self-employed are the first victims. The figures show that a quarter of the restaurants and pubs are being confronted with runaways each month, and 2 percent even on a daily basis. 

"We see that the facts are only reported to the police in 1 in 6 cases", says Christine Mattheeuws of the NSZ. "We are calling on self-employed to report these incidents, in order to avoid bilking in the future. When you do this, you will also highlight the problem, and this is necessary if we want to get rid of it."

When clients mke off without payment after having a drink or a meal, it is mostly impossible for the landlord to catch the offender. In 40 percent of the cases, this doesn't work. However, in 25 percent of the cases this sometimes pays off. Only in 5 percent of the cases a chase is always successful.

The NSZ says people go further than in the past. Excuses which are used include "I need to go out to smoke a cigarette" or "I forgot my wallet"; others just vanish on a busy moment.