Home Business Restaurant Business Gets Even Tougher As Criminals Wreak Havoc

Restaurant Business Gets Even Tougher As Criminals Wreak Havoc


Anyone who has ever hustled tables or prepared dishes for a dinner rush knows that the restaurant business – often portrayed in a glowing, romantic light – can be very, very tough indeed.

Factor in the catastrophic impact of the pandemic with expected, traditional problems with suppliers, operating costs, and staffing and it is little wonder that so many restauranteurs chose to abandon the often life-long pursuit of their dream business and moved on to other things.

Now, as patrons seem ready to dine out again, many local restaurant owners say they have been beset by a crippling new wave of criminal activity which appears directed at them specifically and which is having a huge impact on their respective bottom lines.

Restaurant owners in Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill have contacted this site with a worrisome list of recent break-ins, recidivist dinner tab dashing, petty theft and vandalism which has – once again – left them asking tough questions about their businesses health and longevity.

Business people cited the following recent incidents as cause for concern, among others:

July 16 – Lita on the corner of Locust and Bonanza, money and computers taken.
– Ramen Hiroshi on Bonanza also reportedly burglarized, along with one
other restaurant.
July 21 – De Afghanan Kabob on Locust
– Melos, under construction in the old Lark Creek space.

Some of those contacting this site said the thefts and burglaries appeared to have been part of a “flurry” of incidents around the same time on the same nights.

And with the break-ins have been a steady number of “dine and dash” incidents with patrons – some of them known to local owners – arriving for dinner, running up large bills for food and drink, and then reneging and running out or refusing to pay.

Whatever the approach, owners say each incident has had a profound effect on their business and left them seeking ways to better protect themselves.


  1. Diana Becton, Contra Costa DA, is in a leadership role that impacts our communities. If her office actively prosecutes burglary, petty theft and vandalism cases, law enforcement officers will also actively make arrests, the bad guys take notice and are deterred. This is not happening in CoCo County presently, we can do better.

    • Well said Brian! You did not slam, you did not unreasonably accuse, but you just stated the actual facts! I agree with you 100%! I could have never said it so tactfully.
      Thank You.

    • Well-stated premise! I don’t have enough info to address the conclusion directly, however, when the 3rd largest city in the county has a dysfunctional and wholly-discredited police force, and now no chief, it does toss a proverbial sabot into the works as cases are tossed, one after another, and someone is left to clean up the mess, again. Remember, she replaced a DA who pled guilty to perjury and resigned in disgrace.

  2. It IS a tough business. So sorry to hear about these recent incidents. The work of one or more people staying downtown and familiar with comings and goings?

    • Wow! So tough to deal with this type of thing. First your in the business of welcoming people to your business and want people comfortable and happy. To have someone do that – once is enough but on a regular basis – is beyond reproach. Could they have some kind of warning system so one business could warn others of dashers etc? Really not acceptable behavior by anyone.

  3. Adjust your payment procedures and add cameras. Sad and initially expensive, but it will pay off over time. Sorry these businesses were victimized in this way. I wish them luck and future sucess.

  4. If arrested in the act offer them a choice – jail, several months of washing dishes for the restaurant, or sign over their car.

    • Why? Perhaps we’ll hear from folks with a different view. We’d like to know what they’re facing out there.


  5. “US consumer confidence jumps to highest level since July 2021.”
    “…the trendline of restaurant sales was significantly more positive when compared to year-ago levels. Consumer spending in restaurants increased 8.4% between June 2022 and June 2023, while total spending in non-restaurant retail sectors edged up 0.5%.”
    National Restaurant Association

    8.4% restaurant spending. 0.5% non-restaurant retail. I believe 8.4 is bigger than 0.5.

    I blame the President for the missing recession. We should investigate.

  6. Once I went with two friends to Hops & Scotch and we were asked for a credit card when we ordered our drinks and food. I had never been asked that and readily gave my card. I asked the waitress about this and she said that they do this because some people order really expensive alcohol and then just jump the fence when done. We were sitting outside. I have no problem with this kind of payment system as long as it is done for everyone every time. Unfortunately, this is what we voted for as a whole. Some of us don’t read the propositions carefully or research the candidates fully and just vote along party line suggestions. IMHO

    • Thanks, Cynthia… good post. We’ve cut back on our bar time as those Single Malt bar bills were adding up fast!

      Hopefully our local businesses will be able to find some creative solutions to address these issues and overcome them.


  7. As someone who owns a restaurant in downtown Walnut Creek this is very concerning. The WCPD has over the years stepped up patrols downtown but sadly it’s not enough. WC has grown and with its thriving night life there’s too many people to police. Throwing more money at the problem can only do so much but new innovative solutions are needed. A cctv network, better monitoring of freeway on/off ramps, city grants for small businesses to increase security, more patrols on weekends, enforcement of liquor licenses, I could go on but the truth is there is no simple solution and as the city grows so will the problems.

  8. Just for the record Diana Becton is not the person burglarizing these businesses. Just wanted to point that out to the people trying to link her name to area crimes. Repetitive posting of this position may make a certain political faction feel they have accomplished something but their words are just boring and unheard. Don’t like her? Vote her out.

  9. The sales pitch that liberals are soft on crime has grown stale and ugly with straw men and absurd caricatures as arguments. CoCo County is not SF or Berkeley or Oakland, and yet we chose a “progressive” DA, AGAIN. So, stop the electioneering and work the problem. We voted already.

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