Oklahoma Restaurant Owner Says Be Wary Of Free Meal Seekers
FORT GIBSON, Oklahoma - Several restaurants in Wagoner, Muskogee and Cherokee Counties are upset after they say a couple has been taking advantage of them for free meals.
“I want every customer who comes in my door to leave satisfied,” said Neal Boatright.
Boatright owns Urban Station in Fort Gibson and was surprised to receive a Facebook message from a couple saying they had a bad meal at his restaurant.
“Before I could even respond to it she was already being aggressive that if I didn’t give them a free meal then they would post it all over Facebook,” Boatright said.
And for a small town restaurant, Facebook reviews are everything.
“Back in the day there was a big time for the restaurant reviews in the newspaper,” said Greg McGill of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association. “But those days are long gone now, everything is on the internet.”
“As a small town restaurant, you live and die on Facebook,” Boatright said.
Boatright said felt the need to comply, but when the couple came in, it was easy to see they had never been there before.
“Usually when people come in for the first time, they are looking around and gawking at everything and when they came in they did that so I knew they hadn’t been in before,” Boatright said.
So Boatright posted a picture of the couple on Urban Station’s Facebook page and a warning for other restaurant owners.
“I don’t want them going and doing the same thing to the Mom and pop restaurant down the road,” Boatright said.
Then he was surprised to hear that Urban Station wasn’t the only restaurant they had sent threatening messages to.
“He said that he was going to shut down our business and that hurt our dealings too because we’ve been in the business for almost 18 years,” said Maria Corral, owner or Fajita Rita’s.
A lot of the restaurants haven’t filed police reports, including Urban Station. But Boatright said he still thinks they got what they deserved.
“I think it’s ironic justice that these people have gotten exactly what they threatened to do to me through all the Facebook posts,” Boatright said.
He just hopes that the couple knows what they did was wrong.
“For them to go and damage what I’ve built, that’s what makes me angry the most,” Boatright said.
The Muskogee County District Attorney said that until a police report is filed, it’s hard to tell if this would be a civil or criminal matter or nothing at all.
The couple who is accused of doing this declined to comment.