New York Restaurants Love to Discriminate.. Against Credit Cards

It’s Friday night, and you and your friends decide to go out to eat—what probably 50% of other New Yorkers are also doing. You choose a restaurant, sit down, and take a look at the menu, wondering which item sounds like it will make your mouth water the most. Once you’ve picked out your item for the night, the waiter comes to the table and you find the sudden urge to ask about payment. You say, almost nonchalantly, “You take card right?” Then awaits three words that will grind anyone’s gears who only keeps that Visa, Mastercard, or any other type of credit card only: “No, Cash-Only.” You, credit card in hand, are left sitting there, starting at the waiter as if they will somehow change the restaurant’s payment system and suddenly accept cards.

No. You and your friends have to walk around and choose a new restaurant. And the first thing you’ll say as you walk in won’t be hello but “Now do you take credit cards?”

Welcome to what annoys me the most about New York restaurants: the inability to enter into the 21st century and join the rest of humanity with a credit card machine.

I guess I need to get out of the way why I do not carry cash. What I would usually answer as “Because I don’t want to,” and leave it at that, I will be more specific in light of trying to prove a point. I do not carry cash because cash in my pocket does one thing for me: makes me want to spend it. If I see a candy bar, and I have a dollar in my pocket, I’m going to buy it. However, if I see candy and I only have a debit card, I’ll think it’s stupid to swipe a card for 99 cents. Cash also makes me want to evenly spend all the cash I have in one day, because I, for some odd reason, was born with the obsessive-compulsive need to do so.


I could not count the amount of times I could not eat at a food place because they were cash-only. Now, I can more so understand a let’s say, small pizza place. But being cash-only for an entire sit-down restaurant? The kind where meals are over $15 and using a credit card is only second nature?

This literally happened to me, once again, two nights ago at Galanga in Greenwich Village. As my friend and I sat down to order some delicious Thai food, I looked at my friend and said, “I bet you $5 they are cash-only,” knowing we both happily use Bank of America cards. And they were.

Inside the visual appealing yet credit-card hating Galanga.

We walked around for an hour before landing on another Thai restaurant that took card. Annoying, to say the least.

All in all, I would simply like to understand the reasoning behind cash-only restaurants and their desire to lose business of customers like me who hate carrying cash.

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4 Responses to New York Restaurants Love to Discriminate.. Against Credit Cards

  1. tr103625 says:

    I have the same exact problem. I never carry cash around since I get direct deposit from my job. Since my friends usually always have cash on them, it sucks to be the one person who has to either run outside and find an atm (I always have to pay the $2 fee) or make everyone else turn around and find another restaurant. Recently I have been going to my bank before hand but even that is annoying since I have to take cash out in intervals of twenty.

    I will never understand why restaurants whose highest priced item is $20 dollars only takes cash. It is very annoying.

  2. rc111646 says:

    I hear you! We never go to a restaurant which doesn’t accept credit cards, nor do we pay outrageous ATM charges. Eating at a restaurant is like taking a business: if you miss one there always another behind it. A ‘hot’ food joint has a twin which takes cards. So in the short run, everything evens out.

  3. Lisa says:

    Ha! So true. I hate to carry cash for the same reason you do. I did read/dsicover somehow that apparently some places are charged whenever they accept a credit card and receive only a certain percentage. I forget the specifics, but it’s a pain.

  4. Queen says:

    I don’t get it. It’s so stupid. Aren’t restaurants supposed to cater to their customers? That way if you are comfortable you keep going back.

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