Restaurant ‘loses $5k in days’ due to fake bookings

A restaurant in Perth, which became the dramatic focus of a vegan campaign, announced that it was then overwhelmed with false bookings, resulting in the loss of thousands of dollars.

Last Sunday, Lapa Brazilian BBQ in Subiaco was stormed by protesters chanting “it’s not food, it’s violence” as diners ate in the restaurant.

After then, restaurant owners say in just three days they lost up to $ 5,000 due to a flurry of bookings that eventually saw more than 100 customers fail to arrive.

“On Friday, we had about one-third of the restaurant empty because of that,” owner Gabby Santo told 9News.
It is understood all the bookings were made under fake names, emails and phone numbers.
“Whenever we tried to call, it would be disconnected,” Ms Santo said.
“We even had a woman in Queensland answer saying ‘no, I know nothing about your restaurant.’”

Nevertheless, Direct Action Everywhere, the organisation behind last Sunday’s rally, has denied responsibility for the bookings, saying that it is not a form of action that they support.

“We don’t want the business to experience harm, we just want to draw attention to the problems with animal product consumption,” Direct Action’s Emma Madle said.

While the advocacy group said it does not know who may be responsible for the bookings, it admitted that other members of the vegan community could have made them furious after watching the demonstration unfold last week – and seeing the name of the restaurant brandished in media coverage.

The venue has already struggled with the COVID-19 pandemic fallout, and will now be charging a mandatory fee for all bookings made from this week on.

“When you had to turn people away, saying ‘no, we don’t have (a) table,’ and then you see the restaurant empty — it’s really sad,” Ms Santo said.

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