Over dinner, they worked their way expertly through the menu, ordered and drank fine wines and, after ordering dessert, slipped out “for a smoke”. They kept going.
Leary was left with an unpaid bill for about $520, and little hope of recovering his money.
“It was then I remembered that when the group arrived, one of them had asked about one of our waitresses who was not working that night,” Leary said yesterday.
The waitress gave him a name and then he thought of Facebook.
“I searched the name and there he was, large as life,” he said. “And he was pictured with his girlfriend – the only girl who had been in the group.
“The site also gave me his place of employment, which was handy.”
Leary discovered that both the man and his girlfriend worked at another Southbank restaurant.
Angered that it was workers from his own industry who had perpetrated the scam, he stormed down to the restaurant and confronted the restaurant owner, who promised to deal with the matter.
Within hours, the restaurant manager arrived at Seagrass with the ringleader, who not only paid the bill, but left a generous tip for staff.
“The restaurant manager then told me he would let me know what further action would be taken,” said Leary.
“And later, he called to say both employees had been dismissed.”
But has the former waiter outlined his well-deserved career glitch on Facebook?
“Apparently not,” said Leary. “Or at least, not yet.”