5 On Your Side

Want a patio seat? Some restaurants require credit card upfront

Posted May 15, 2013

— 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.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • rmadry May 17, 2013

    I have no problem with this policy.
    It helps keep my cost of dining out down by making sure that the dine and scoot crowd has to go somewhere else. Why should I have to help pay for their illegal activity?

  • cuffusion May 17, 2013

    This policy may actually be unlawful and I recommend that the business owner consult his attorney or the States Attorney Generals office for verification.. The reason being that it excludes individuals that do not maintain credit cards from service in parts of the business.. which is a discriminatory practice.. Personally I do not agree with these restrictions and feel that private businesses should have the absolute right to deny service to anyone without cause... but the current law of the land is far more intrusive into the rights of these business owners...

  • btneast May 17, 2013

    I use my credit and pay the full balance every month, thereby never paying interest but earning plenty of rewards in the process.

    Congrats, but you are the exception to the rule. Most people carry their "perpetual debt" on their credit cards, never paying them off. I am not referring to mortgage debt, just consumer debt.

  • DurhamDevil May 17, 2013


    In order to have good credit, one has to use their credit. Having credit does not mean being in perpetual debt, either. I use my credit and pay the full balance every month, thereby never paying interest but earning plenty of rewards in the process.

    Can't blame a business for making sure they get paid. Unfortunately, its just another example of how law-abiding citizens are the ones who bear the brunt when law-breakers do what they do.

  • amdriver12 May 17, 2013

    "People with NO credit which means they can't really be trusted." Ha....you have a LOT to learn. No credit does not equate to bad credit, just means you have the means to pay cash for everything you buy. Having "credit" just means you are comfortable being in perpetual debt." btneast

    You must've carried a lot of cash when you paid for your house then.

  • rachel May 16, 2013

    btneast-I am sure Walmart appreciates your understanding- however, everything is already on camera-I don't wonder why they do that, I disapprove-big difference-once I have paid for something and own it, no one has the right to search me without probable cause, even the police-and yet the lemmings keep right on giving the store the authority they don't legally have-you give your rights away-they stay gone.

  • lwe1967 May 16, 2013

    What happens if you pay in cash? Requiring a credit card in advance will only help the crooks get your credit card number and charge and withdraw from your account. No thanks, I will sit inside. I will not pay this. Why not order the food, pay for it and wait for it to be be delivered to your patio table?

  • outhousecat May 16, 2013

    At Mickey D's, you can buy your food first and then go sit on the picnic tables as long as you want to. No credit cards required.

  • bubbasu12 May 16, 2013

    It isn't clear do they hand over the credit card and the estanlishment keeps it until it is time to leave? If so I do have a problem with my credit card being in someone elses hands and what they could do with it.The incidence of identity theft and fraudulent use of credit cards is rampant these days.

  • themacs May 16, 2013

    Why on earth is this a big deal for any customer? You don't have to pay with your credit card, and surely anyone can understand why they need to do this?