NSW Restaurant Patrons - Runner on Bar Tab - What to Do?

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9 August 2014
I am a liquor licensee in NSW and I run I restaurant. I have just had a group of people run out on a bar tab. Is this a civil matter? I have acquired their basic info so I can contact them but these people don't seem to be the type to come back and pay (hence why I'm typing this to you). Where do I stand when I go to the police? Will they tell me this is a civil matter or because this is strictly in regards to liquor? They ate no food. Is there legislation that suggests this act is a crime? Thanks.

John R

Well-Known Member
14 April 2014
Hi @harley,
  1. What "basic info" do you have on the bar tab runners?
  2. My understanding (which will hopefully be clarified by @Tim W and others with knowledge of NSW law) is that the theft/fraud is a criminal offence. That said, from a practical perspective, because of limited police resources and difficulty in proving intent/dishonesty, it may be easier to pursue a small claim for breach of contract against the runners if you have their personal information.
Hope this helps. Please keep us updated with your progress.


Well-Known Member
10 July 2014
If they owe you money, visit your local court house and lodge a Statement of Claim - a demand for money. If they claim they do not owe you the money, a hearing will be scheduled. I highly recommend you obtain proof immediately.