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Restaurants are easy targets for scammers

Every restaurant, possibly the whole package of more than 900,000 restaurants in the USA have some story about being scammed. Two factors: Restaurant ops like to talk about being hit; seldom do they prosecute for fear of losing favor with the public.

Exceptions: When Wendy's was threatened by a woman who said she found a human digit in her chili, Wendy's went on the hunt and nailed the bitch. After Big Mac paid off when a woman said she was scalded by hot coffee, McDonald's decided enough was enough. Chains today have firm procedures for employees when they are approached by scammers.

Independents, the Mom and Pops of the food industry, seldom put up a fight or ask questions. They pay and pay and pay... Examples: For years restaurants have been approached by a scammer who says his or her mother was in the restaurant and a waiter spilled a sauce or a glass of wine on an expensive garmet. Oh, and here is the dry cleaner's receipt. Please send check. The problem: There is a high turnover in both management and floor personnel. So, usually, the check is in the mail.

If you like crime stories, follow the Philco blinking tubes:


• SCAMS hit Columbus restaurants... one major Downtown spot, The Elevator, reported this goodie....a rather well-dressed woman sits at the long bar, orders a couple of drinks, enjoys a slow dinner...then tells the bartender she is stepping outside for a smoke...she leaves her big shoulder purse next to her dinner plate...what's her server to figure? Goodbye. Her purse proved to be empty...just for record, this chick continued pulling the scam around town.... any other goodies about the city? ....call TALK.

• More SCAMS? Wendy's lost more than two million bucks when a con artist claimed she found a human body part in her chili...the Bunco Bitch, a handle awarded by bloggers, legally known as Anna Ayala....made huge mistakes...she'll never make the Hall of Fame for con artists....to make her case against Wendy's...she turned the finger over to the store management....but the deed was done...Jay Leno and others worked the scam into their nightly monologues...meanwhile back at the hamburger home plate...Wendy's FBI types were tracing the digit source...turns out Ms. Bunco and hubby bought the evidence-to-be from a friendly funeral home.....if her crime pays...she has nine years to do before slurping another of Dave Thomas's bowl of beans... Will it happen again? Wendy's learned...Wendy's top info gent said he paid out $100,000 for the tip that led to the conviction...."happily so" he added........your thoughts....... call TALK.

• Not all SCAMS come from customers..... in this case...Florida's attorney general sent his staff out for advertised grouper dinners....a chain had pitched grouper in its 24 restaurants....in the Tampa area...the AG's tests of samples found that 17 were serving some species other than grouper...the chain's spokesman blamed his supplier....said he will not accept any alleged grouper filets...but will trim from the whole fish...for inlanders who never met a whole grouper....the chain will know what they are buying...Grouper in its original state fresh out of the water is known as the ....ugliest...THE ugliest fin fish in the tank..... what does this tell you? When ordering a costly dinner portion of some fresh fish... ask questions...if you're paying a menu price for Copper River salmon...you don't want a slab of some farm-raised fish made pretty with a smear of red food dye...it happens......thoughts? Call TALK.

• Developing... restaurants are hit daily with scams involving travelers checks, bogus billings, phony services, walk outs, name it....call TALK.


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