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Peartree (Vancouver) -- credit card# for reservation? [Moved from Western Canada board]

Just got off the phone, was all set to make a reservation at the PearTree in North Burnaby, but they demanded a credit card number *just to take a reservation*. On further questioning, they told me that they would charge $50 per person for no-shows!

Has anyone else encountered this kind of policy? It's a first for me, but maybe I'm just behind the times. In the end, I refused to hand over my credit card number and hung up without making a reservation. I wonder if the Peartree management realize what a terrible impression it makes?

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  1. I was asked for the same and more when I made a reservation at Pan Pacific Hotel for one of their Sunday brunches. They even asked me to photocopy both sides of my card and to fax it to them.

    For small restaurants like Pear Tree, maybe I can understand. But for places like Pan Pacific, I do not.

    Did you try using opentable ( http://www.opentable.com/rest_profile... ) ? I do not think they require credit card information.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kwailan4

      nwatson:

      I have heard of this practice but have never personally experienced it.

      Some years ago a local restaurant [Edmonton] owner Peter Jackson of Jack's Grill was quoted that he was going to implement the practice due to problems with "no shows" particularly during the busy periods. It stirred up some controversy and I do not think he in fact did go ahead with the practice.

      Personally, I have no problem with it but I can see the potential for abuse. Mind you, every time you give your credit card to someone else to pay the bill you run the risk of losing that info or having it electronically swiped.

      Probably just a reaction to customers being rude and not having the common sense and courtesy to phone the restaurant and advise that they were not coming.

      1. re: kwailan4

        It would not surprise me that it will get to the point where if you require any service over a certain price point you will have to provide a credit card. I understand that businesses get frustrated with no-shows, eat and runs - people who want a $50 dollar service for $25 dollars. I have witnessed much of this - what is missing is integrity on the part of customers - in our "its about me" head space we are not conscious of other people's time - or efforts - (yes I run a small business) and yes I will try not to be bitter...the $50.00 per person charge is outrageous - however, possibly a flat fee is reasonable if a cancellation isn't received within a certain time frame. (as with hotels)

        1. re: caseygirl

          I think that is a reasonable request especially for small businesses with only limited seating and for large tables. If they're turning people away at this time of year and you don't show up, its not fair to them. If the restaurant in question does all the right things: holding your table; confirming your reservation on the day; informing you of their practice and how much notice you have to cancel. I don't have a problem with it. Unfortunately there are some individuals who make reservations at a number of places for the same night (esp NYE) and then decide on the night.

      2. Not sure how widespread the practice is here in the States, but I have certainly heard of it. I once encountered something similar when I tried to make a reservation using Open Table. When I called the restaurant directly and made the reservation, I wasn't asked for a credit card number.

        1 Reply
        1. re: phoebek

          I've only read about it here and, thankfully, never experienced it.

          I wouldn't deal with an establishment that demanded it.

        2. I haven't personally encountered that type of policy at a resto...(my doctor's office however does charge $20 and it irks me). I wouldn't patronize a restaurant that requires a credit card to hold my table.

          2 Replies
          1. re: maplesugar

            maplesugar you don't mean charges you $20. to hold your appointment, do you?

            1. re: dolores

              If you call 24+ hours in advance of your appointment, there is no fee to cancel (because they can fill the spot). They charge the $20 for no-shows and last minute cancellations.

          2. I think it's perfectly reasonable for a restaurant to do this as long as they stipulate the terms before you make the reservation -- i.e. how far in advance do you have to cancel in order not to be charged, how much will they charge for no-shows, etc. It appears that many people just don't show up without making a courtesy call. When I've called to cancel reservations or am running late, the person answering the phone usually sounds very appreciative -- which makes me think that so many people don't bother to call.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Miss Needle

              Me too, I'm always amazed to get a heartfelt thank you for what I consider a basic courtesy, let alone a species of business obligation. If you'd flip if you show up and are told "we're sorry, but we overbooked so no table for you", what gives you the right to consider a reservation a mere "suggestion" on your part?

              I can understand being taken aback but assuming you planned to actually show up, what's the big deal? Especially in this day and age. Unless you're in agonizing pain or a coma, what's the big deal about digging your cellphone out of your pocket and giving them a call? And I suspect that most places would willingly forego the fee if you fax them a copy of the emergency room bill anyway... Any other reason for a 24 hour cancellation no-show is simply rude and unacceptable. Now, if the terms are extreme, that's different but I've never heard of anything like that.

              1. re: MikeG

                You're right, it IS common courtesy, and I too am always surprised to hear true appreciation when I call to cancel.

                However, SINCE the 'charge for no-shows' is a new phenomenon, I expect to be alerted verbally when I make a reservation that I will be charged if I cancel within a certain timeframe. Just as I EXPECT to be alerted in writing on the menu if I'm going to be charged an 18% gratuity if I dine alone or get seated after 11:00pm, or that I'm going to be charged if I'm going to eat bread, or if I'm going to use takeout containers, or if I'm going to drink water.

                You are absolutely correct, I will give a restaurant owner courtesy, and I expect the same exact courtesy in return.

                1. re: dolores

                  "I expect to be alerted"

                  Oh absolutely, but simply being verbally alerted was what apparently put this OP off in the first place. I've never heard of anyone getting a surprise no-show charge and I'd be shocked (not to mention appalled) if that were remotely legal anywhere.

                  1. re: MikeG

                    Oh, I know, it would put me off too. I would move on to find another restaurant that didn't have such a policy. Life is hard enough without restaurants behaving like some doctor's offices (I wouldn't accept it there either).

                    I was just trying to fit in -- since so many people seem to be SO willing to put up with SO much baloney from restaurants, I was just opining on what it would take to make me accept such an outrageous policy, to a minimal extent.

                    1. re: dolores

                      Each to their own... I guess I've seen and heard of too many people making 3 reservations for a Friday night and then "picking" at the last moment. (Haven't seen it lately, but I've seen a couple of threads like that here for that matter.) As long as the charge is proportionate to the restaurant's prices, I really don't have any problem with it at all. A very high "penalty" sort of charge would definitely make me look elsewhere though.

                      1. re: MikeG

                        Yes, but those kinds of people make it bad for me. I wouldn't dream of doing such a thing.

                        But then again, I wouldn't dream of talking on my cell phone in a restaurant either.

                        So, quite true, salsiccia his own. As long as I can hang up the phone when alerted to such a horrid policy, no problem.

            2. Any place that requires a credit card for a reservation will not get my business.

              I ran into Open Table requiring a credit card for a reservation for Saloon Steakhouse in Chicago, instead I called the restaurant direct, and got the reservation with no credit card.

              1. I can understand how the people who've never worked in restaurants are shocked by this procedure. However, the reality is that almost no one cancels their reservations if they're no longer coming or if there's a dramatic change in the number of guests attending. Because restaurants aren't aware of said changes, they still consider themselves booked for the evening and turn away many, many guests.

                This happens where I work all the time. Your table of 25 becomes a table of 4 or just doesn't show up at all. Meanwhile, we turned eight other callers down because we were "booked".

                The credit card fees are there to encourage guests to be responsible diners, which many aren't. I'll assume most of us 'Hounds would do the courteous thing and cancel reservations, as we all have respect for food and dining. But the vast, vast majority of people don't.

                As long as the policy is disclosed in when the reservation is being made, what's the big deal?

                11 Replies
                1. re: invinotheresverde

                  Well, as a person who always calls when there is a change, I object to the charge since I would only cancel if in a dire emergency and then I don't want to be charged and won't pay. So I won't patronize a place that wanted my credit card.

                  And yes, advance notification is a must if a restaurant is going to make this charge and the patron is fine with it.

                  But hey, as with all the other charges with which folks are fine, it is, after all, salsiccia his own.

                  1. re: dolores

                    "As a person who always calls when there's a change" you'd be exempt from the charge, silly.

                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                      Not if calling within the time limit. Some restaurants apparently have a 24 hour caveat. If I were to call same day, I'd get hit with the charge.

                      1. re: dolores

                        Personally, I haven't heard of a 24 hour rule. I wonder how that'd work for people who made same-day reservations?

                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                          I can't say where I read it, since there's been SO much on outrageous charges written of late, but I know I saw this.

                          I imagine those who make same day reservations would pass on a restaurant with this rule and which ask for a credit card. As I would.

                          1. re: dolores

                            D, say you and your guests want to dine at Restaurant X. You call them to make a reservation only to be told they have a few large parties that night, and are booked, but you could come in as a walk-in.

                            Said evening arrives and you and your guests walk-in at Restaurant X only to be told there's an hour wait. Your guests really want to eat there, or it's the best game in town, etc., but leaving isn't really an option.

                            You see the large tables pushed together, awaiting scheduled large parties. You wait. And you wait. And you wait. You're crowded, bumped into, cold from the door opening and hungry. Meanwhile, no one's shown up to dine at this large table.

                            Finally, management decides the large table isn't showing up. The tables are broken up and you're seated immediately. If there had been a no-show credit card charge, I'm pretty sure the table would've cancelled and your party could've been seated without delay.

                            Sometimes a restaurant's policies benefit other customers as well as themselves.

                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                              invino, your example makes sense.

                              BUT, in the process I am being dinged for someone else's inability to live by the Golden Rule and to treat the restaurant with the same respect that they want in return.

                              Also, if Restaurant X had a no-show credit card charge, I wouldn't be calling them. In addition to 'all' the other stuff I now have to be on the lookout for, now I have to ask if they have a no-show credit card charge!

                              I am being mildly facetious, but I find the lack of manners in this world appalling. Even worse, I dislike having to pay a price for someone else's lack of manners.

                              1. re: dolores

                                "Even worse, I dislike having to pay a price for someone else's lack of manners."

                                Welcome to this day and age, dolores. Those who still abide by the rules of common decency and civility often have to pay the price for those who don't.

                                But what can you do, eh? We can't all devolve into mannerless cads nor do we want to.

                                In the restaurant's case, they really are just making the best of a bad situation. Yes, they will alienate some customers with this policy and that's a risk they have chosen. In the calculus of business, better to take this risk of alienating a few customers than take the risk of having tables reserved for potential no-shows.

                                1. re: jayes

                                  I completely understand, jayes, and, sadly, have to agree.

                          2. re: invinotheresverde

                            I recently had to make a same day reservation for 6 that did have a 24-hour rule. They changed it from 24-hour to 2-hour for us. However, we have dined there before numerous times (it's in their computer system). So they may have made an exception for us.

                          3. re: dolores

                            dolores when I mentioned the 24 hr policy that was a tangent....my doctor's office charges $20 if you try to cancel less than 24hrs before the appointment sorry.