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Dec 13, 2007 04:55 PM

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 ( ) ? I do not think they require credit card information.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kwailan4


      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.