Entrepreneurship & Small Business

Locked: We need help, my sister and brother in law are being 'shaken down' at her restaurant

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 19th, 2018 7:11 pm
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Oct 10, 2016
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jimmysack wrote:
Mar 4th, 2018 7:09 am
To sum it up, my sister and brother in law opened a bar/restaurant in the GTA.

It just opened its doors a few weeks ago. Not long after that, my sister told me that "2 men" from what seems like a "certain group" approached her and my brother in law and basically told them that they expect ______ on a per month basis or other stuff would happen (that are not good). I know this seems like a stupid post and I know this may not be the place to post this but we don't really know what else to do and she is afraid to call the police.

My sister is a normal person in her early 30's and does not know how to deal with this kind of a thing as she's just a regular university graduate trying to fulfill her dream of her restaurant. Does anyone have any advice or how to deal with this. My brother in law does not want to give them what they want but my sister is afraid "if they dont". Has anyone dealt with it who also owns a business... we are seeking your help pls..
You gotta use your contacts and see if you know some people and then set up a meeting with these guys. Forget the cops.
Last edited by estevens on Mar 5th, 2018 11:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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TrevorK wrote:
Mar 5th, 2018 10:49 pm
The cops are not useless - they are being realistic. If only one person chooses to stand up the people who can be charged are minimal. That leaves a large number of people with the criminal organization available to "set an example" for others.

Taking down criminal organizations for things such as extortion requires large numbers of people to step forward. These groups can easily quash a small number of people, but when the number is large their options dry up quickly and they become easy targets.


Police can only do so much by themselves - we as the targets / victims need to also be brave enough to step forward to make a difference. Especially in scenarios like extortion which requires the target / victim to step forward.
Agreed but the thing is the cop didn't give any good advice on how to solve this prb and is not actively seeking out this alleged extortion ring. I have No idea what's happening behind the scenes but it's Not as if the cops are saying "ok pay them now, we'll setup a sting". No solution just a shrug. That simply won't do.
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This is a really tough situation, but you might want to consider looking at simply from a practical business point of view:

- You pay a cut to federal and provincial government to leave your business alone
- You pay a cut to city to leave your business alone
- Now the neighbourhood protection outfit wants you to pay a cut to leave your business alone. Does it really matter whether it's legal or not?

If you don't like it, move to a new neighbourhood/city/country. If any of them try to charge more than the market will bear, business will leave, and their revenue will drop, whether they're the government or the unofficial neighbourhood protection outfit.

But do talk to other businesses in the area to find out what's normal for the area, and whether these guys are likely serious. If they are, pay or leave. No point in risking your life savings or your life to be a public sacrifice.
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Oct 10, 2016
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Exp315 wrote:
Mar 5th, 2018 11:54 pm
This is a really tough situation, but you might want to consider looking at simply from a practical business point of view:

- You pay a cut to federal and provincial government to leave your business alone
- You pay a cut to city to leave your business alone
- Now the neighbourhood protection outfit wants you to pay a cut to leave your business alone. Does it really matter whether it's legal or not?

If you don't like it, move to a new neighbourhood/city/country. If any of them try to charge more than the market will bear, business will leave, and their revenue will drop, whether they're the government or the unofficial neighbourhood protection outfit.

But do talk to other businesses in the area to find out what's normal for the area, and whether these guys are likely serious. If they are, pay or leave. No point in risking your life savings or your life to be a public sacrifice.
Won't risk life..most likely cars, house, business will be burnt down
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MusicBox wrote:
Mar 4th, 2018 8:18 pm
You must not be vietnamese or italian, and don't own a restaurant or a bar. This is damn common in the GTA. Nobody can open a strip-tease/lap dance bar without the Hell's Angels taking a cut. Like you, I also did not believe this sort of garbage existed in Canada let alone in 2018.
no...I am Canadian...born and raised ...have owned and operated 4 different restaurants in my lifetime...not in the biz anymore. I have NEVER been shaked down in Toronto or anywhere...your fear and paranoia only perpetuates this behaviour.
Did your sister go to police? did the police tell your sister that this fall under organised crime offences?,,only an idiot would "shake down" and extort...and only a bigger idiot would play along and pay.
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jimmysack wrote:
Mar 5th, 2018 10:19 am
Thanks to the recommendations, and its sad that even in a serious situation like this ppl are coming here to crack jokes and sarcastic remarks.

A few posters have said that these are probably "local street kid gangbangers". These 2 guys who showed up were not your local street kids who have just formed a gang called "gangsta sick killah thugzzz ". She told me the men were well into their 40's or 50's, these were grown men that were dressed like everyday people, no baggy clothing etc. My sister and our family are not stupid ppl so pls stop assuming we are.

To the posters who are attacking my sister and us for not "standing up to these ppl, thereby being a part of the problem and letting it flourish":
Why does my sister have to be the one to stand up to these kinds of ppl? Why does she have to risk her business, her life, uprooting her entire family, etc. for something like this? Why couldn't the other ppl this group is doing this on have stood up?

To those who said "call the cops". and specifically "cardguy". Cardguy, this isn't a video game, its real life. You've been playing too much spider-man and call of duty. When they spoke to my sister they already knew her name as well as my brother in laws. It's easy to talk tough and act like your superman or captain america when this isn't happening to you and your behind a computer screen. Do you actually think my sister or anyone in their right mind would testify in court against these kinds of animals? What happens after she testifies? you think uprooting her entire family is worth it and living under some new stupid identity thing? You're playing too many video games and world of warcraft.

With calling police, My sister was too scared to speak with the police so instead, I Myself called and basically spoke anonymously with a detective and he was pretty helpful. He covered all the angles for us and He told me that in this type of situation we can report it and they will press charges but he also really emphasized that we would have to testify in court against them, and this maybe dangerous. He said even if they press charges these people just post bail and get out because theres so many of them, and told us the different stuff we should really think about before going up against such serious ppl.

the people who are saying report it to the media, and what is this going to do in the end? it will get media coverage and give you something interesting to watch while your at your safe home eating dinner, and my sister and brother in law will be exposed to this group for doing this. There names will be known for the 2 ppl who brought this "heat" on the group. Why would we risk this? media coverage isn't going to do jack.

And i agree with speaking with other business' in the area which is exactly whwat we'll be doing. thanks again guys.
your entire family is stupid for playing along with this....unless you already have some underworld dealings and needed favours or are already involved with people like this...how would they get involved with you??...how would they know who is actually involved and the real owner of the joint is??..

I am NOT a gamer or live in a fantasy land...the only fantasy I see is your story...especially how you went to police and they brushed you off. like i said before....the last time someone i knew was being extorted was about 1999..and it was bikers (H.A wanna be)...everything blew up in their face,,,police surveillance, big trial, gang affiliation.....and the funny part is...the H.A didn't sanction any of this..as... 1, its too small potatoes for them and 2 , way too risky and penalties too high for a measly few dollars.

And btw ..I grew up with half my friends in mob families..and the other half connected to the biker world...I am very aware of what goes on...anyone threatening someone like that without cause..doesn't go over well in any of these worlds...or is there something you are not telling?..strip joints , rub and tugs , prostitution...these are all thing that may bring this kind of heat, but not a restaurant that is all out to make 12% profit after all expenses

So don't try and sell me some story that there are some heavy's waiting to collect a few hundred a week...
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Redsanta wrote:
Mar 4th, 2018 6:54 pm
Set up live camera broadcasted on youtube, instagram, etc and post the link on front door


This is indeed small time gangs... mafias and yakuzas should have moved to stock market long time ago
this is Good! That's where i am going now:).
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time for moderators to close this thread.
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elcheapoh wrote:
Mar 4th, 2018 8:30 am
Tell your insurance company, just in case your restaurant is set on fire
That's a great way to get your insurance cancelled or the premium doubled.

The people who think that the police can easily get rid of this live in a beautiful country. I'd like to visit it someday.

Thugs don't need to harm you. There are many things they can do if you don't play along. After one or two "events", your insurance company cancels your contract and/or clients avoid your restaurant... Then what?

I do agree with contacting the police and other owners. Installing security cameras (some in plain sight and some hidden) is also a good idea.

But realistically, you should also be prepared for the fact that it may not be enough...
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cardguy wrote:
Mar 4th, 2018 10:49 am
a corrupt city official?...hardly a threat..
...and ONE mob story from 15 years ago?..in Montreal..?...

ya it happens all the time..(sarcasm)....
Yes it does happen. Especially in the night club scene in Toronto. I have seen it first hand. A friend of mine, threw a specialized organized party at a night club (you have to buy tickets, etc etc). At the end of the night, two guys walked in to the upstairs room where we were hanging out and counting the money. They spoke with my friend who then gave them a stack of cash, and they were on their way. My friend threw many parties like this in the early 2000's and he knew the routine. I was shocked, but for him it was "the cost of doing business".
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FrancisBacon wrote:
Mar 6th, 2018 1:09 pm
That's a great way to get your insurance cancelled or the premium doubled.

The people who think that the police can easily get rid of this live in a beautiful country. I'd like to visit it someday.

Thugs don't need to harm you. There are many things they can do if you don't play along. After one or two "events", your insurance company cancels your contract and/or clients avoid your restaurant... Then what?

I do agree with contacting the police and other owners. Installing security cameras (some in plain sight and some hidden) is also a good idea.

But realistically, you should also be prepared for the fact that it may not be enough...
I didn't say "easily" but they should be *doing something* instead of basically shrugging their shoulders and telling OP there's nothing they can do. That's simply unacceptable in our "beautiful country".
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tranquility922 wrote:
Mar 6th, 2018 3:40 pm
I didn't say "easily" but they should be *doing something* instead of basically shrugging their shoulders
I'm certainly not claiming that the police will just shrug their shoulders.

But the problem is that if the thugs are the least bit smart, your business can be bankrupted before the police can gather enough evidence to do anything about it.
Last edited by FrancisBacon on Mar 6th, 2018 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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FrancisBacon wrote:
Mar 6th, 2018 4:52 pm
I'm certainly not claiming that the police will just shrug their shoulders.

But the problem is that if the thugs are the least bit smart, your business can be bankrupted before the police and gather enough evidence to do anything about it.
So it's 'game over' for OP/his family? That's not very encouraging for a honest citizen just trying to make a living esp in a first-world country where supposedly law rules supreme and there's less of these types of shady things going on. Again, this simply won't do and I would expect the police do something about it. As it stands from OP's recount, they don't seem to be following-up, so pretty much a 'shrug'.
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There are plenty of places throughout the world where this type of protection racket is routine. It's a Hollywood staple in movies for good reason. Sure it's less common in Canada, but it exists in the big cities. If you're not prepared to get dirty, then you shouldn't be playing in this sandbox. Go open a nice restaurant in a clean suburb or a small town.

If you're going to stay, then what you should do is treat the request for protection money as a business proposal and negotiate. Find out what others around you are paying, make a lowball offer with all the justification you can muster (business just starting out, lots of overhead etc.), and get the best deal you can. The threat on your side is that you will walk away and close the business if their demands are too high.
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Exp315 wrote:
Mar 6th, 2018 5:55 pm
There are plenty of places throughout the world where this type of protection racket is routine. It's a Hollywood staple in movies for good reason. Sure it's less common in Canada, but it exists in the big cities. If you're not prepared to get dirty, then you shouldn't be playing in this sandbox. Go open a nice restaurant in a clean suburb or a small town.

If you're going to stay, then what you should do is treat the request for protection money as a business proposal and negotiate. Find out what others around you are paying, make a lowball offer with all the justification you can muster (business just starting out, lots of overhead etc.), and get the best deal you can. The threat on your side is that you will walk away and close the business if their demands are too high.
Then later they ask for more and more and more when the biz is more successful. These are not people you 'negotiate' with.

I'd tell them to take a hike.

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