Raleigh, N.C. — Eating outside is a definite perk of living in the Triangle, but some restaurants are now requiring plastic just to secure a patio table.
At Sushi Blues on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh, customers have to hand over a credit card before sitting down. 5 On Your Side received some complaints about the policy from people wondering if it's legal and questioning the motive, so we spoke with the restaurant's owner, Quy Duong.
He explained that Sushi Blues has a large, two-sided outdoor seating area and that, despite all of the benefits, the patio has one big downside for his business – customers who dine and dash.
"The patio is just so big, and outside our patio is the street," Duong said. "On the weekend, it can be pretty chaotic. ... If they want to (get up and walk out), nothing can stop them, really."
Duong compared the policy to the way many bars require a credit card to run a bar tab or how many gas stations now require you to pre-pay at the pump. He said he does understand the concern of some people, but that most people get it once it's explained to them.
5 On Your Side has spoken with people who say they've experienced this same policy at other restaurants with outdoor seating, so it might become more common.
Keep in mind: Many restaurants, especially upscale places, now require a credit card to just make a reservation – a move that protects them from no-shows.