The founder of Northern Soul Grilled Cheese has shared their experience with a social media scam, in a bid to help other independents avoid it.
Dan Place, founder of Northern Soul, explains he was targeted by a sophisticated scammer over the weekend that ‘ripped the heart out’ of his business.
Speaking to the MEN, he said the hacker took control of all the Northern Soul social media platforms and is now demanding cash in return.
The hacker was demanding £2,500, and Dan said that even if the business could afford it – after the difficult year in hospitality – they still wouldn’t hand it over and ‘give in to blackmail’.
The restaurant have spent the past seven years building their social media channels, which Dan now describes as a community.
Currently he is waiting for an investigation from Facebook, who also own Instagram and Whatsapp, but in the meantime has warned others of how the hacker operated so other businesses don’t fall victim.
He said: “I would hate for this to happen to any other Manchester business, it’s so painful.
“I feel like it’s ripped the heart out of the shop.”
The Northern Soul Instagram account received an Instagram message from what appeared to be an official account, warning them of a copyright infringement on background music in a video post.
The message then directed the restaurant to a form where they could dispute the claim or agree to take the video down.
After filling in the details, Dan received suspicious WhatsApp messages demanding money, to then find he had been lockdown out of the accounts.
He said: “I’m super on it with security and scams, but this was done very cleverly. They were asking for such a small thing – it wasn’t money or anything, it was just taking a post down.
“It’s the sort of message you get fairly regularly from Instagram.
“When I got that message on WhatsApp and realised what had happened I just thought to myself ‘Am I in a movie’ – it didn’t even feel real.”
Northern Soul is now aiming to get back their 25,000 followers by Christmas on their new profile which you can follow here.
One new follower will receive unlimited grilled cheese for life and will also be able to choose a local charity that Dan will donate £1,000 to, instead of paying the money to the scammer.
Dan said: “All we want for Christmas is our followers back. Everyone on those accounts are friends of the businesses – it’s a small following to some but it’s so potent to us.
“It’s huge. The Instagram account has kept us going this year. It’s our community.
“Our followers know how hard we’ve worked – seven years has gone into that and someone’s taken it in seven minutes.
“We’re barely holding on financially. What else can 2020 chuck at us?”
The new hidden gem serving up huge, authentic Greek street food platters
Look at those gyros!
Located in a rather obscure spot on a street in the middle of Trafford, there’s a new hidden gem serving up authentic Greek street food.
Geropolis, situated on the boundaries of Stretford, Gorse Hill and Firswood, is a revelation, an oasis of proper Greek dishes from gyros to some additions you won’t find at your average restaurant.
It’s been open for around 5 months now, and the menu features classics like gyros kebabs, filled with chicken, doner, halloumi and even spicy sucuk sausage.
In addition, they also do a wide selection of mains, from souvlaki chicken (£7.50) to biftekia tiri (£8.50), which is minced beef and lamb skewers stuffed with cheese and topped with salad, tzatziki, chips and pita breads.
There’s also a selection of meze platters, both meat-filled and veggie, a special skepasti sandwich (£7.00) which is a bit like a Greek quesadilla, and even their own baklava (£3).
And of course there’s an impressively long list of starters or small dishes to kick things off, including tzatziki, hummus, Greek olives, halloumi, gigantes beans and the aforementioned sucuk sausage.
Geropolis is open NOW and is available for collection and delivery – you can order through the website here.
There’s a new party bar and terrace serving up crazy cocktails in Spinningfields
The cocktails look so good
If you like your cocktails delicious and a bit out there, then you need to get yourself down to Spinningfields.
Clubhouse, previously located in Hatch, has opened a brand new party bar and terrace where they are serving up all kinds of weird and wonderful cocktails.
The new spot opened its doors last week as lockdown restrictions eased, over at Leftbank in Spinningfields.
Clubhouse will be bringing their own blend of mayhem and late-night partying to this corner of the city centre, and comes complete with a brand new terrace area.
They’ll be serving up a range of cocktails guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step, including their Espresso Creme (£8), made with bourbon, espresso liqueur, coffee, custard syrup and a custard cream.
There’s also the Unicorns N Stuff (£8), which comes with pink gin, strawberry liqueur, marshmallow syrup, sour mix, all topped with a massive flump.
Top of your list should be the truly unique Tropical Margarita (£9), with tequila, melon liqueur, tropical juice, passion fruit puree and some Haribo Tangfastics thrown in for good measure.
Or you can just go all out and have a Tiki Time (£10), which comes with all the rums and Jagermeister.
There’s also an impressive range of shots available, including ‘Kickstart My Heart’, a lethal mix of honey tequila, coconut tequila and a few hearty glugs of Lou’s Hot Sauce.
You can either book a table or try your luck as a walk-in, as they’re accepting both – you can find more info and book a spot via Instagram here.
Local grocery service that delivers in 15 minutes or less launches in Manchester
The super easy way to get food and drink delivered
Weezy is a brand-new on-demand grocery service that delivers in 15 minutes or under, and it has officially launched in Manchester today – just in time for a rare sunny weekend.
It offers a carefully curated range of over 2,000 high-quality products at retail prices, including alcoholic drinks, dairy, snacks, party games like Twister, and pharmacy products for emergency needs.
As well as working with wholesalers, Weezy also sources groceries from independent bakers, butchers and markets – meaning they’re always able to offer fresh, localised produce.
And if that’s not enough to pique your interest, the first 200 orders of £20 or more in Manchester will also get a FREE bottle of Bottega Gold Prosecco.
The offer runs from this Friday evening until Sunday at midnight, and the promocode – GOLD100 – is automatically available at checkout.
New Manchester customers can also get £10 off their first two orders at Weezy with the code: WELCOME10.
Weezy launched back in July 2020, finding success in London, Bristol and Brighton – Manchester is the brand’s first location in the North of England.
Talking about the launch, Kristof Van Beveren, Co-founder and CEO of Weezy, said: “Manchester was the natural next choice for us.
“We know that it’s one of the most eco-friendly cities in the UK and that Manchester residents share our values.
“Our service helps to further reduce fresh food waste and packaging, and enable healthier lifestyles, with all groceries being sustainably delivered by bike or electric moped in a matter of minutes.”
Weezy has also partnered with what3words to make every location easier to find and every delivery seamless.
This new partnership enables customers to order their groceries to wherever they happen to be, whether that’s a hard-to-find address or a bench in a local park.
Kristof added: “We’re excited to be offering our customers what they want, when they need it.
“With lockdown easing in the UK, we know that friends and family want to get together safely outside and we wanted to make it easy for them to get quality products anywhere.
“Now they can meet for a picnic or a BBQ without having to carry anything there. Weezy can deliver a full shop or just some beers.”
He continued: “It’s convenience without compromise. Customers simply add in their what3words address at checkout and can sit back while they wait for their Weezy delivery.”
The Weezy app is available to download now, both on the Apple App Store and Google Play.