SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) - A Southfield restaurant is fighting back against dine-and-dash customers. Nikola's in Southfield has had at least three split before paying their bill recently. The restaurant is taking to Facebook to send the criminals a message.
"When we're super busy people think they can take advantage of that, where their server will be distracted or at another table and they prey on that," says Tom Milosevich of Nikola's.
Mangers say they report all crimes to police -- but recently they also decided to use Facebook to help fight these crimes.
"We posted still images from our video surveillance system onto Facebook social media, so those people can be identified, and if it was accidental we'd like for them to come back and pay for it. Or, if they see it themselves and if they want their pictures taken down, they'll come back and pay for the bill," Milosevich says.
In addition to a surveillance picture, they post license plate information, a police report number and a message for the dine-and-dasher. Management says the strategy appears to be working.
"We had one incident yesterday where a group walked out; it was a $100 bill. We immediately posted to Facebook and within an hour, we had a phone call from two people in the party and they offered to come back and pay for the bill," Milosevich says. A dine and dasher on Valentine's Day also called and made payment after their picture was posted.
Police say they continue to investigate and currently three open cases are yet to be solved.
"Over time, it adds up to several thousand dollars." Milosevish says. "It's not fair to us."
When customers dine and dash it not only impacts the restaurant's profits, but also what the server takes home.
"It impacts me on my tips," says server Lawrence Carter. "Everybody has to pay their bills and by you dining and dashing, it's hindering me from paying my bills."
Mangers say they're training staff to pay close attention to all their tables, but they also want their customers to know that you can run but you can't hide.
"(Social media has) added a big benefit to it, where we can actually post these people's pictures and some of the pay back," Milosevish says.