People are dining and dashing with takeout. Restaurants are paying the price

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Before the pandemic, “dine-and-dash” was a phrase reserved for in-person dining. It meant running away before paying the bill. But now, as more people order delivery and more restaurants offer takeout through third parties, some diners have found ways to skirt the check. 

“There are people who are taking advantage of restaurants that have prioritized safety over in-person security measures that they would normally have, such as checking someone’s driver's license or manually swiping a credit card. They’re trying to keep everything as contactless as possible,” says Jenn Harris, LA Times food columnist. 

Her recent story explores this new form of dine-and-dash, and how it’s costing businesses that are already struggling.

Harris found that some Angelenos are dining out for free in some different ways. “People are using fraudulent credit card numbers. Other people are requesting refunds for food that’s already been delivered. And some people are even claiming that they never received part of or all of an order.” 

This puts the onus back on restaurants to cover the costs of customers’ meals. In the case of Spoon by H, a lauded Korean restaurant in Fairfax, they’re now closing after a slew of problem checks left the restaurant hemorrhaging money.