Customer thefts are more common than you think at local restaurants

Local Houston restaurants say some surprising things have gone missing after customers walk off with things like utensils, menus, and even toilet paper.

HOUSTON - Have you ever taken things from restaurants, like silverware or glasses? 

Underbelly, the acclaimed, award winning restaurant in Montrose, said thefts inside the business are more common than you think.

"We lose an average amount of menus, about one or two a month that go walking. They're really cool, they're leather bound," said Kevin Floyd, an owner.

His upscale eatery is one of two in Houston recently featured in a Bloomberg article that spotlighted restaurants around the country that have had stuff stolen.

Coltivare in the Heights had its six-foot fruit tree taken according to the piece.

"If you want to steal something like a wine menu, they need to think about it beyond the dollar costs," Floyd said.

Floyd showed us the menu, which has a comic book feel in the front with Houston rapper Bun B and Chef Chris Shepherd.

He said it's specially made here in Houston and it's less the cost associated with it but the time it will take to get the precious leather cover back.

Menus, glasses, toilet paper, salt and pepper shakers, ketchup bottles and ash trays have also disappeared from Underbelly, Floyd said.

"I think there's a special place in beer hell for people that steal branded-beer glasses," Floyd said, adding other thoughts about toilet paper. "If you're so hard up you need to steal toilet paper, then I guess I'll give you my toilet paper so that you can have a comfortable bathroom experience."

The Greater Houston Restaurant Association said it's hard to track these petty thefts.

"It's just wrong and it's theft," said Jonathan Horowitz, president of the group. "It's illegal and it's really frustrating."

Underbelly estimates all the lost goods come to about half a percent of their gross revenue.

The restaurant said they do try and protect against thefts. They bring patio furniture in at night, securely mount their televisions and have bar stools that are too heavy to steal.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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