Scots restaurant owner claims she’s lost £1,700 due to “dine-and-dash” tourists

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A SCOTS restaurant owner has claimed she has lost around £1,700 over recent weeks due to brazen diners leaving without paying.

Lynn MacLeod said she has never experienced so many bill dodgers in the 20 years that she has owned Maxies Bistro near the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.

The popular restaurant is popular among tourists due to it being located in the heart of the capital’s Old Town and just minutes from Edinburgh Castle.

Maxies Bistro CCTV outside - Food and Drink News Scotland
Some people were making a runner when waiters were inside.                                                                (C) Lynn MacLeod

But Lynn has today hit out at visitors who dine-and-dash without paying their bills following an influx of incidents over recent weeks during the Edinburgh Fringe.

The restaurant owner revealed that one tourist allegedly asked a waiter for wet wipes before making their getaway when he went inside.

Lynn blamed alcohol as being a contributing factor to some visitors who have left without paying, with many returning back afterwards to settle their bill.

She also revealed that the restaurant hasn’t had any problems from Scottish locals but mostly tourists visiting from other parts of the UK. 

Speaking today Lynn said: “It’s the tip of the iceberg since we reopened there have been numerous incidents of customers walking away without paying.

“We opened two weeks after the restrictions eased as a lot of our staff were working for Amazon while we couldn’t open and needed to give in their notice.

“We kept on all our staff throughout the pandemic, furloughing the whole team and making sure everyone was okay.

Maxies Bistro inside CCTV - Food and Drink News Scotland
Several customers are said to have left without paying.                                                                           (C) Lynn Macleod

“It’s happened a lot over the last couple of months. It’s often tourists from down south rather than Edinburgh locals. 

“We are going to have to have a meeting soon as we are losing so much money due to people leaving without paying.

“Whether to let go of staff to make up for losses, or take on more staff to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“My husband is the head chef. We are both from working class backgrounds and have worked from nothing to be where we are today.

“He really cares about his staff and family in the business and has helped a lot of young people get jobs after leaving school over the years.

“He has worked 19 hour days for 20 years making this business so it really hurts him that people would do that.” 

Lynn continued: “The customers recently have been brazen, one table asked my grandson who works at our restaurant to get them some wet wipes, when he was inside they were running away along the terrace. 

“Sometimes people have a couple of bottles of wine, get a bit carried away, get up to leave and just walk away forgetting to pay because they are out on the terrace but they usually come back and pay after.

“Alcohol is definitely a factor, most of the time it’s Dutch courage. They feel like they can just walk away without paying after a couple of drinks.” 

Lynn took to Facebook yesterday to hit out at recent visitors who she claimed have left without paying, writing: “Local businesses have struggled so much recently, thanks to everyone who has come in to enjoy some food and drink. 

“Unfortunately loads of people are leaving without paying. Usually we get three in a year with two people coming back as they forgot. 

Maxies Bistro view - Food and Drink News Scotland
The view from Maxies Bistro in Edinburgh’s Old Town.                                                                            (C) Lynn MacLeod

“However, we have lost over £1,700 in just a few weeks due to people running away after telling us how much they loved the food. 

“With all that’s going on in the world we should be helping businesses, not stealing from them. This is just a few of the lovely people.”

Social media users were left shocked by the recent spat of incidents.

Lauren Ryan said: “OMG. This is so awful Lynn. Absolutely disgusting actually.” 

Ruth Millan said: “That’s disgusting that people intentionally leave without paying.

“I’ve heard people give false Track and Trace to help get away without paying.” 

Margaret Pennington said: “Appalling behaviour. Know how hard you work.”

While Jacquie McAdam added: “Absolutely awful!”