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?”
Nando’s launch hottest sauce ever, ‘Extra, Extra Hot’
Can you handle it?
Nando’s have revealed they are introducing a new heat level to their scale, Extra, Extra Hot.
For those who like things spicy, there’s a brand new addition to Nando’s PERi-ometer that will knock your socks off.
The sauce, Vusa, has already been launched as a bottled sauce but will now be available on all the classic like PERi-PERi Chicken and the new The Great Imitator.
Vusa – which is Zulu for ‘excitement and fire’ – features a combination of African Bird’s Eye Chilli plus garlic and lemon in a tasty and very hot sauce.
The chillis come in at a whopping 175,000 Scoville heat units and will definitely have your lips tingling.
The new spice level is available now on delivery and takeaway orders and will be back in store once restaurants are open again.
You’ll have to be quick if you want to try the new spicy sauce though as it will only be available in restaurants until mid-May.
South Manny Flavas to open first-ever venue over two floors on Deansgate
Can’t wait for this.
Popular fried chicken spot, South Manny Flavaz has found a new permanent home in Deansgate.
One of the latest additions to the Arndale Market, South Manny Flavaz, has just announced they are set to open a brand new, super street food diner down on Deansgate – their first-ever store!
The news will be very exciting to fans of fried chicken and long term followers of SMF who might remember their garden cook-off beginnings back in 2017.
The first-ever brick and mortar venue will feature two floors, plus a purpose-built mezzanine will host a variety of events and live streams from local media and podcast producers.
Speaking of the new opening, Founder Chef Aaron Lee said: “Manchester has been good to us, it is our home. Coming from a small back garden in Longsight to opening a unit on one of the most historic streets in our city is a humbling experience. I cannot wait to show you what we have created.”
He added: “If anything, Covid has only highlighted the importance of street food to the hospitality sector with the Tier 2 bars relying on street food pop ups, we fully expect to see a booming market for outdoor events and niche diners like ours!”
JSE Director Michael Jagger, who has partnered with SMF on the construction said: “We wanted to deliver a space that goes beyond a traditional ‘takeaway’, so we are introducing Street Food to the ‘take away’ concept in true Manc fashion.
“We will have old school street soul, softly respiring out of a silky sound system with old cassette tapes hidden in the grooves of our picture frames bringing a modern touch to the 80s & 90s experience.”
Follow South Manny Flavaz to keep up to date with developments.
Mana is selling the first Michelin Star burger in Manchester
Will you be trying one of these?
Manchester’s only Michelin Star restaurant, Mana, has launched a new takeaway burger which is available during lockdown.
The Michelin Star cheeseburger is made with a Lake District Farmer’s Belted Galloway smoked beef patty, put together with shin, brisket and rump cap.
It’s then topped with Mana’s own American-style cheese, made with St Andrew’s Cheddar and Cloudwater beer, placed in a potato and brown butter bun, and finished with Koji and dill mayonnaise, iceberg, and green onion paste.
The burger will set you back £16, and you can also grab some drinks for £5 each if you’re thirsty, including a lime, raw sugar, mint, and cucumber soda, a sorrel and matcha iced tea, and a fermented Banks’ Tomato and oregano soda.
Mana spent the eight days before launching it testing different beef cut ratios, cheese slice thicknesses and woods to smoke the patties, and according to them it’s ‘the best burger we’ve ever had’.
Head Chef, Simon Martin said: “As well as keeping the business afloat and continuing to keep our team’s livelihoods intact, I also wanted this to be a fun exercise.
“As much as I miss our usual setting and the all-encompassing activity it provides, the idea of doing something so familiar for people became a really endearing challenge in the meantime.
“Almost everyone has had a great burger, especially in Manchester where humble foods are commonly elevated, so people will have a comparison to make whilst we’re trying to deliver the best version of something they’ve ever had.” ⠀
The team at Mana chose burgers as it’s a classic comfort food that almost everyone likes to eat, and they have plans to start doing tacos in a few weeks and potentially fried chicken as well (depending how long it takes them to reopen properly).
As a token of appreciation, all NHS staff are entitled to one free burger per order every Wednesday, you will just need to bring an NHS ID on collection.
Numbers are limited to just 100 burgers per day, and are available from Wednesday to Saturday, to collect between 12pm and 4pm.
If you want to grab one booking is required via Tock-to-go, where you can book a slot up to three hours in advance of collection – prepayment is required to minimise contact.