Why Dining-and-Dashing Makes You the Worst

dine and dashWhen you run out on a check, many restaurants in New York make your waiter pick it up—waiters who are undertipped, overworked, treated like assholes by the paying customers. Servers often have to work an entire shift for free to cover that cost, which means by nabbing  just one free meal and/or a few drinks, you’re forcing someone to perform uncompensated labor, one of the great injustices and maddening cruelties of our capitalist system. You’re not sticking it to the owners—just to their hardworking employees.

So good on Manhattan waiter Suzanne Parratt, who says she was fired from Midtown hellhole Pig N Whistle because she refused to cover the check of a table that bounced; she plans to file a complaint of retaliation at the Division of Labor Standards, Gothamist reports. It’s blatantly illegal for restaurant owners to demand their employees cover their losses. If you can’t ensure that your customers aren’t robbing you, that’s not your employees’ fault (unless they’re the inside man!). Hopefully this incident brings official attention to a rampant practice in the city’s restaurant industry and effects real change. After all, it’s not really the dashers who are the worst—it’s the owners!

Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart


  1. The company I currently work for won’t ask us to cover the check (for legal purposes) but when a “walk out happens”there is such an intense procedural process (that could end in termination) that we often secretly will just pay the tab and move on. I’ve heard stories of waiters paying upwards of $400 just to avoid the process, possible suspension, and likely termination. When a “walk out” is reported the process involves a ton a paperwork (including what is called a “write-up”), multiple meetings with the GM, manager on duty, and the Maitre D that was on duty that day, in addition to a trip to the corporate office to meet with Human Resources and the head of operations for the company. All of which require being asked the same unanswerable questions over and over again. “What went wrong?” “Who is to blame?” It’s a nightmare and a mess and has contributed to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome for colleagues and myself (no, I am not kidding). I am glad this article addresses these issues. It is completely asinine and unfair to expect servers (who have no benefits or 401k) to pay to go to work.


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