Family flee restaurant without paying and then 'threaten to burn it down if pic is made public'
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The hot sauce wasn't the only spicy thing on the menu at a North Yorkshire restaurant as the co-owner claims a family dined and dashed and then threatened to 'burn it down' if he went public with their photo.
Joe claimed the family left the restaurant, which also has branches in Redcar and Cleveland, on Tuesday (1 August) without paying their bill and promised to come back later to settle up - but they never showed up.
The man, woman and two kids allegedly ordered cheese-loaded nachos, pulled pork and BBQ sauce, a smash stack XXL premium burger plus two sides, dirty southerner bad bwoi burger and two sides, halloumi fries, regular chicken poppers and three portions of chicken tenders from the kids' menu.
The feast - which was scarfed down without complaint - totalled £68.64.
But when the bill arrived, the couple claimed to have zero cash and only one bank card between them - which didn't work alongside their online banking app.
While they seemed apologetic, with Joe saying the woman said she was 'very sorry', when the time came for them to return the next day to pay up she and her male companion never appeared.
The popular restaurant has an impressive 4.6 rating on Google Reviews, but Joe claims the rising cost of energy and food suppliers have impacted the business and unpaid food bills are not helpful 'given the current climate'.
To try to get the owed money, the co-owner took to the eatery's Facebook page - asking the woman to to get in touch or be outed with her image being shared on social media.
The post read: "To the lady who couldn’t pay last night but swore blind she would be back today to pay her almost £70 bill
You have till 9pm before your face is all over the internet!"
Coincidentally or not, the woman apparently messaged the owner, again apologising and claiming she wanted to pay - explaining she had issues with online banking that were preventing her from paying.
Following through on his threat as the initial post started to 'gain momentum', Joe uploaded an image of the woman on Facebook with her face blurred - saying he'd share an unedited version if she didn't settle up within 48 hours.
"So sticky Vicky ya got just over 24 hours to cough up," the post said.
While some followers believed it was all an elaborate 'marketing ploy', Joe claims it was 'a real situation' and that he's simply 'looking to try and make the best out of a bad situation'.
He posted about the threat - that has since been reported to police - writing: "The lady contacted us saying it was out of order to post a picture and saying she is not going to pay. She said her brothers would burn down the premises over the phone. I think we have been more than fair."
Cleveland Police confirmed they'd received a report that 'threats were made' and 'enquiries are ongoing'.