Toulouse: customers parent without paying the bill, the silent scourge of restaurateurs

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The phenomenon of “restaurant basket”, where customers leave their table without paying the bill, is experiencing a resurgence in Toulouse. Testimonials from restaurants.

“Following the resurgence of Resto Basket, we will now cash all our tables from 11 p.m. All drinks taken after 11 p.m. will be directly cashed when ordering. Thank you for your understanding “. The managers of the restaurant Les Chimères, Saint-Cyprien interior square in Toulouse, posted this word a few days ago in their establishment.
With its multitude of tables spread over three levels, and its terrace, the restaurant is conducive to the “Resto Basket” phenomenon. Unscrupulous customers settle in, consume, and leave without paying.

“The team can’t have their eyes everywhere”

“The team can’t have their eyes everywhere. Since May, this has happened several times. It is mainly when the restaurant is very full, explains Emilie, one of the managers of the establishment. This was the case at the end of spring, with sports broadcasts. There were groups. Some don’t want to wait to pay. Two or three times it was downright an entire table. Sometimes it’s a couple. One goes to the bathroom, the other pretends to wait for him, and they both slip away”.
To fight against the phenomenon, the manager urges his teams to be very vigilant, and reorganizes his collection system.

“No typical profile. Entire tables, couples, families…”

This is also what Thomas Fantini, the boss of the Pergola, in Lardenne, did a few years ago. “I haven’t known a Resto Basket for several years. But five years ago, it happened to me. People left a note of €150. There is no profile type. I’ve even seen families do it. “After this misadventure, the boss placed his boxes at the exit of the terrace and the room. He also asked his employees to take turns, so that someone was always present at reception.

The authors should 6 months in prison and 7,500 € fine

Even if the phenomenon of the “restaurant basket” remains very present among Toulouse restaurateurs, the number of complaints does not increase in the police stations of the city. “For the first six months of 2022, we recorded less than ten, explains a spokesperson for the national police. Before the Covid, in 2019, we had about fifteen over the same period”.
To confuse the authors, who fear 6 months in prison and a fine of €7,500, Thomas Fantini nevertheless encourages his colleagues to file a complaint. “A few years ago, this made it possible to retrieve information, and to question a family who scoured the terraces…”

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