What's the Deal: Restaurants requiring deposits on reservations

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A viewer recently contacted Action News upset that a Center City restaurant asked him for a deposit on his reservation. Those in the hospitality business say this is a growing trend and it is needed.

"Some guests have a habit of making multiple reservations on the same night and then at the last minute choose what restaurant they want to go to. When that happens a lot of restaurants are stuck with empty tables," said Ben Fileccia, Director of Operations for the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Fileccia said last-minute cancellations not only hurt the business, but also hurts its employees.

"A 4-top in a small restaurant can mean the difference of breaking even that night, losing money that night or making a little bit of money that night. And it's not just the restaurant that's affected, it's also the server and the bartender," Fileccia explained.

He said the amount of the deposit can vary by restaurant, but on average you should expect to be charged what a meal would cost per person.

How you see that money back can vary as well.

"It generally would go towards your check or it would be refunded to your credit card when you come in," he said.

There is no master "list" of places that require a deposit on a reservation, but Fileccia said most restaurants post that on their website or on the reservation app that they use.
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