Family of eight dines and dashes from restaurant, owner still pays for waitress's tip

It was a disappearing act that no one applauds.

A family of eight dipped out of a $88 bill at a midtown restaurant late Tuesday.

"I kind of checked on them periodically throughout the night and when I came back from the kitchen they were gone," said Tatiana Smith, their waitress. "They didn't give me any signs that they might have fled or that they would do anything like that."

It happened at Starter's Bar and Grill on Woodward. As the family that left, the parent's caper was caught on camera.

"Oh my gosh, like, what am I about to do," Smith said. "That was the first thing I was thinking, like, that was an $88 bill."

The restaurant's owner said this isn't the first time he's dealt with a dine and dash. While they don't happen often, it's often enough. Other local instances of cheating waitresses and waiters out of their tips include Monroe's Senor Cactus in April, Chelsey's Bar in Lincoln Park back in October and Nikola's Farmington Hills as well.

"It's not only hurting the business, it's hurting the staff," said Ali Saad, co-owner of the bar and grill. "These are people that are working for tips."

Despite the petty act, that waitress is still getting her tips too. Saad reimbursed Smith for the $88 charge and tip that walked out the door.

"I love our manager. I love our boss he didn't have to do that and I feel like a lot of managers wouldn't have done that," said Smith.

A friendly workplace aside, Saad isn't happy to see that kind of behavior.

"Wrong is wrong and at the end of the day we're not going to make our staff suffer for it. And we're not going to make our customers suffer for it," he said. "Incidents like this are never going to take us away from our roots as businessmen and how we run our establishments and how we treat our staff and how we treat our customers who walk through our doors."