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Credit card required to make a restaurant reservation

Credit card required to make a restaurant reservation

Old Jul 13, 16, 3:50 pm
  #1  
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Credit card required to make a restaurant reservation

What are your thoughts on this?

Today, I phoned a restaurant to make a reservation. At the end of the process of selecting date/time (one week from now), they wanted me to give them a credit card over the phone.

I asked if they had a secure online site to provide the information; they did not. I believe they were literally going to write my credit card number on a piece of paper and do...I don't know what with it.

I chose not to do it, and said we would just walk in on the evening we intend to dine. If we can't get a table, we'll go elsewhere. No big deal.

- The restaurant in question is not Michelin-starred or Forbes rated. I personally believe it *could* reach the Forbes four-star level, if it chooses to pursue such a thing. (It has received critical acclaim in other publications.) Unlikely to achieve Michelin stars, being in Missouri and all...

- Two-person reservation on a Wednesday night. Probably 75% chance we'd have success as walk-ins. It's not a place that must be booked weeks/months in advance. (Again, it's KC...even our lone Forbes four-star restaurant is relatively easy to book on Open Table a few days in advance.)

- I don't have any intention of no-showing the reservation. I'm conscientious about canceling reservations in Open Table when plans change.

- I have booked restaurants before that required credit cards in advance (the French Laundry being one), but it was a secure online transaction. For a small subset of the world's great restaurants, and a standard secure process, this does not bother me. I mean, I don't *like* it, but I get it.

What are you comfortable with? On one hand, I suppose our credit card numbers are all over the place anyway, and having it on a piece of paper in the drawer in some restaurant office isn't really much *incremental* security risk. I was just taken aback by the combination of (a) not being able to book this online and (b) being asked for a CC number by a restaurant that, while it may aspire to become the French Laundry, isn't really there yet.
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Old Jul 13, 16, 3:59 pm
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This drives me nuts too, and I really don't like going out my CC over the phone! Typically I will ask what they are doing with the information, or where it is being stored and they will back down. If they really insist I only give my AMEX because if there is any fraud I am more than happy to let them deal with it.
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Old Jul 13, 16, 4:01 pm
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There are a few that require CC's for parties 6 or more or for special occasions (Mother's Day, Thanksgiving etc.). With the CC, they have a cancelation policy and penalty. I understand the need. I can usually give the info through Open Table. I haven't had concern providing over the phone either. Always Amex though!

Two people on a Wed night? Kinda strange.
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Old Jul 13, 16, 4:07 pm
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Indeed, large groups / private dining: I totally get that. We *really* avoid restaurants on things like Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, etc., but I'm aware the practice is more common there. This one really surprised me though...
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Old Jul 13, 16, 4:18 pm
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For just 2 people? Of course not. Don't give it another second's thought, pinniped.
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Old Jul 13, 16, 4:22 pm
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I would have done the same as you and just took my chances as a walk-in. Did they inform you of a charge for a no-show? If not and they are just taking cc #s to make you somehow feel more committed, then if I wanted a rez that badly I would probably scramble a few digits. In general I don't even like the custom in this country of a server disappearing with your card as opposed to the tableside method in Europe, and I certainly don't like the idea of my cc# floating around on a piece of paper in a restaurant.
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Old Jul 13, 16, 5:13 pm
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Why not just make something up?
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Old Jul 13, 16, 5:18 pm
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Originally Posted by thelark View Post
Why not just make something up?
that was my first thought. Blame it on the hostess if you get there and there's an issue
or give them your gas card #
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Old Jul 13, 16, 6:37 pm
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He11 No and I wouldn't go back, i'd even fire off an email to the business and let them know why

now if I really loved the place, I'd fire off an email to complain and say, that while I still might patron your business, it will be less and still will only be as walk in for as long as you keep the CC requirement for reservations
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Old Jul 13, 16, 7:44 pm
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Depends on where you are. In Boston, NYC, and DC, it's now become common for run-of-the-mill places and more and more of them require a guarantee even for 2-3 people.

They actually want to force you to do a walk-in because holding tales for late arrivals adds up over the course of an evening.

So, really depends on where you are. Expect it to become more of the norm.
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Old Jul 13, 16, 7:45 pm
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Given how common no-shows have become, I can see their point. Sometimes people make reservations at 3 or 4 restaurants and then decide on that day what they feel like eating.

I assume they are typing the number into their POS to see if it's valid, so they can charge you the no-show fee. I don't object to this in principle, but the whole thing seems a bit insecure to me. You can always give them a virtual card number, or buy a Visa gift card and use that, if you're concerned about your card number getting compromised.
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Old Jul 13, 16, 7:56 pm
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Originally Posted by cbn42 View Post
Given how common no-shows have become, I can see their point. Sometimes people make reservations at 3 or 4 restaurants and then decide on that day what they feel like eating.

I assume they are typing the number into their POS to see if it's valid, so they can charge you the no-show fee. I don't object to this in principle, but the whole thing seems a bit insecure to me. You can always give them a virtual card number, or buy a Visa gift card and use that, if you're concerned about your card number getting compromised.
OP Mentioned it was for a Wednesday. Not exactly the major night for dining out. Unless there is a big convention in town for the week.
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Old Jul 13, 16, 8:12 pm
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I can't think of the last time I made a reservation over the phone. That said, I'm fine giving my cc# when I make a reservation over OpenTable.
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Old Jul 13, 16, 8:15 pm
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Originally Posted by chgoeditor View Post
I can't think of the last time I made a reservation over the phone. That said, I'm fine giving my cc# when I make a reservation over OpenTable.
I only make reservations over the phone if I absolutely must. I'd much rather use OpenTable.
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Old Jul 13, 16, 8:21 pm
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Yes, some places ask for this no matter the party size. I assume it's often that they are (or fancy themselves to be) catering to such a "trendy" clientele that might flake and not show. Hence I never do it. :P

Most likely the host is going to enter the cc # into their Micros or other POS system. But that doesn't make me feel any more secure than writing it on a slip of paper.
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