Reader: Charging a penalty would cut down on restaurant no-shows

Oak at Fourteenth is a very good restaurant, and it earned raves from Gretchen Kurtz in her review this week. But even a very good restaurant can have very big problems with no-shows, as co-owner Bryan Dayton learned last month when several large parties failed to arrive on a weekend so busy that they even opened Oak early, and were turning people away. Dayton was so peeved that he tweeted the names of the scofflaws, but soon had reservations about that tactic. What should restaurants do to combat no-shows?

See also: - Bryan Dayton now has reservations about busting no-shows on Twitter - Photos: Behind the scenes at Oak at Fourteenth - Review: Oak at Fourteenth rises from the ashes

Says Denver Dave:

I'm all for the taking a credit-card number idea. A lot of high-end restaurants in NYC, SFC, etc. have been doing it for years. Really, how hard is it to pick up the phone and cancel a reservation (especially in small venues) so that the restaurant can at least try to accommodate people on a waiting list. You fail to cancel -- your credit card gets hit with a failure to cancel penalty. You'd have to disclose that penalty when taking the reservation, of course. I bet that'd cut down on the no-shows!

Would charging a penalty for no-shows work? Would you object if you were charged for a no-show?

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