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SCAMS! Be Aware of These Scams Played on Restaurant Owners

Sep 29, 2016
Article #347
Author: Mel Jones

There has always been scammers out there, and with the advancement of technology the scams get more sophisticated and tricky as these folks easily got their greedy little hands on information that 15 years ago wasn't available.  

Take for example a sports bar in Oxnard we sold. Late on a Friday afternoon the accountant of this sports bar got a call from what appeared to be the power company. The person to the accountant that the power bill hadn't been paid yet and that the power was going to be shut-down unless they received a cashiers check for $1,500 immediately. The accountant did one better. She looked up the bill and told the person, oh no, we owe you $2,300. She did as the person said and went to the check cashing store and transferred the money to this person. 

In yet another scam, the health department publishes restaurant transfer inspection requests.  The scammers get this information and then call the restaurant as the health department and threaten to close the kitchen unless they pay the fee - of course on a Friday afternoon just before the big crowd comes in.  A panicked owner, worried about business that night, writes the check! 

There are so many ways a restaurant owner can be fooled by these guys posing as government or public utility personnel and in an era where small business owners are harassed by government agencies starving for money, it is hard to discern who is real and not.  

Government agencies don't suddenly come in an tell you to pay-up or we're going to shut you down, unless of course, there is a history involved.  In that case, you'd know it. And in those cases, the scammers may know it too. So do the due diligence instead of panicking.


Mel Jones is one of the premier restaurant brokers in the nation having published hundreds of articles on buying and selling a restaurant and bar business, selling thousands of restaurants in CA., WA and AZ and building one of the most copied business models in the brokerage industry.  Mel started SellingRestaurants in 2004 with the one simple concept, give the buyers the information they need to make intelligent buying decisions without being pestered by a broker or hiding information, prepare the business for market by researching key details that make or break deals and educate the buyer on the buying process to create an intelligent buyer.  Prior to SellingRestaurants, Mel was a Chief Financial Officer for Universal Music Group, the largest music company in the world.  There he participated in more than $11.5 billion of merger and acquisition transactions.  He also work for top companies such as Nestle Foods, USA. He hold a Bachelors in Business Administration Finance as well as attened Law School at Gonzaga University.  Give Mel a call at 480.274.7000 or e-mail him at [email protected] if you have any questions. 

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