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Paying it forward: Montreal restaurant fights the dine and dash with novel approach


Some Montreal restaurants say they're seeing more clients dining and dashing – and one restaurant is fighting back with a unique strategy.

Moonshine BBQ & Smokehouse opened its doors on Monkland Avenue a year and a half ago, and so far, business has been good, said co-owner Melissa Beaver.

"We have a great community. I love the N.D.G. community," she said.

But they have faced some issues. Beaver said in recent months, they've to put up with a rash of dine-and-dash thefts, including one this past weekend which left a waitress stunned.

"When she came back, he was gone. We had other patrons in the dinning room and they were like, 'Hey, he split," she said.

It's hardly rare, said Dominique Tremblay, director of public affairs at Association Restauration Quebec.

"It's a difficult period in the economy and people don't have enough money to eat, so maybe now that's what’s happening," said Tremblay, who said there’s even a growing trend of people posting their own dashing exploits on social media. "What we've heard is that it's kind of like a thrill, an experiment just to dine and dash."

All of this comes at a difficult time for restaurants. Rising costs have led many to close.

Beaver said the incident got her thinking.

"This particular time, it was like, 'What can we do for our community to try and avoid this from happening in the future while also helping somebody/'" she said.

Their 'Pay it Forward Wall' is how they plan to stop theft. The restaurant and customers who want to contribute can buy burgers for those who can’t afford it.

"We also ask our other patrons, 'Hey, if you feel like you want to assist this and purchase a burger for somebody, then we put it up on the wall and it allows us to grab more food for our community," she said.

Beaver said in these tough times, many people can use a little help.

"I wouldn't sit here and say we're thriving or that we're doing fantastic, but we'd rather put our money into something that is going to result in something positive, rather than doing nothing and it continue happening not only to us but other local businesses," she said. Top Stories

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