13 September 2023 1210 words, 5 min. read

92% of Michelin-starred restaurants require a credit card deposit

By Pierre-Nicolas Schwab PhD in marketing, director of IntoTheMinds
Asking for a credit card deposit in restaurants has become common practice when making reservations. In the research we've just carried out, 92% of Michelin-starred restaurants required it. We also found that the amounts requested vary widely, averaging 60% of the price of the most expensive menu. Find out all the results in this article and the restaurant's name that requires €2,000 prepayment per guest.

“No-shows” are a plague for restaurateurs. Customers who book a table and cancel at the last minute or don’t show up greatly impact restaurant profitability. More and more establishments are now asking for a credit card deposit, i.e., securing a sometimes very large amount on the customer’s credit card when booking. This article presents the results of research conducted among 39 Michelin-starred restaurants in 18 countries. This research reveals a wide range of practices. One Danish restaurant even asks for €2,000 per person when booking.

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Credit card deposit figures for restaurants

  • 1%: the average no-show rate when a credit card deposit is requested.
  • Of the world’s top 50 restaurants, only 3do not require credit card details.
  • The highest credit card deposit is requested by Alchemist (Copenhagen): 2,000€per person.
  • 3 of the 39 restaurants researched require a credit card deposit higher than the price of the most expensive menu.
  • 1/3of the restaurants researched require full prepayment for the menu.
  • The average credit card deposit represents 60%of the price of the most expensive menu.
  • The rate of unfulfilled reservations can reach 30%on certain evenings
  • Credit card deposits reduce no-shows by a factor of 3
  • Zen chef is a reservation platform widely used by restaurants that systematically ask for a credit card deposit. Nearly 7,000 establishments in 15 countries use this service.

The problem of no-shows in restaurants

A no-show is when someone doesn’t show up for an appointment. For a restaurant, this means an empty table that cannot be reallocated to another customer. It’s a dry loss for the restaurateur. No-shows are particularly problematic in the restaurant business, where product orders and staff planning are based on the number of customers who have made reservations. In addition to the loss of earnings, there are also losses to absorb. A limited number of no-shows can destroy the profitability of an entire department. Some restaurants are very transparent about this, such as Labyrinth in Singapore, which explains on its booking module: “Cancellation fees reflect the cost of food, drinks, and staff that we have incurred in anticipation of the booking, as well as the loss of earnings associated with the empty table.”

A limited number of no-shows can wipe out the profitability of an entire service.

The higher the menu price and the larger the number of guests, the greater the financial risk of a no-show. With raw material inflation and rising wages, no-shows have become unbearable for restaurateurs. Since 2022, there has been a profound change in reservation practices. Asking customers for a credit card deposit at the time of booking has become standard practice.

Credit card deposit restaurant

92% of Michelin-starred restaurants ask for a credit card deposit

Research into 39 world’s top 100 restaurants shows 92% require a credit card deposit. Some even charge penalties above the menu price for no-shows. And 1/3 of these restaurants expect customers to pay for the entire menu in advance. All that’s left is to pay for drinks on the day.

Credit card deposits can reach staggering sums. While Enrico Bartolini imposes a flat-rate charge of €500 (and a penalty of the same amount for cancellations made 72 hours or less before the day of the reservation), the prize goes to Alchemist in Copenhagen. This highly conceptual restaurant charges a prepayment of DKK14900 (€2000) per guest. This corresponds to the price of the menu, and, understandably, a no-show would have an intolerable impact on the restaurant’s financial equilibrium.

Our research found only 3 Michelin-starred restaurants that did not require a credit card deposit. These were restaurants with “reasonable” prices given their ranking: Lido84 (most expensive menu at 150€), Fu He Hui (110€), and Maito (92€). Above €150, however, 100% of restaurants require a credit card deposit.

1/3 of Michelin-starred restaurants ask for prepayment of the menu

We note that a third (14 restaurants out of 39) require full prepayment of the menu. This means that where a choice exists, the menu must be selected when booking. This principle applies to establishments with prices ranging from €90 to €370 per person. There is no minimum amount for this rule.

It is interesting to note that, in some cases, establishments adapt their semantics. They no longer speak of “reserving a table” but of buying “a ticket” or “a seat” (see the example of Alchemist in Copenhagen below). Some even go so far as to explain that they are modeling their practices on those of show business.

Credit card deposit restaurant

Credit card deposit: to be handled with care

Requesting a credit card deposit is not a decision to be taken lightly. While it eliminates the risk of no-shows (1% maximum versus 10% to 30% without), it also has certain disadvantages.

The first disadvantage is, of course, that the amount requested can be a disincentive for customers. Impulse purchases will be less common, and the average ticket is likely to suffer as a result. The pros and cons must be weighed carefully, and the financial impact of no-shows must be weighed against the possible drop in average ticket sales.

The financial impact of no-shows will have to be weighed against the possible drop in average ticket sales.

The other disadvantage is for the consumer. In some cases, they have to choose their menu months in advance. In terms of flexibility, this is not optimal. Once again, this can put the brakes on impulsive purchasing decisions that would otherwise have benefited the restaurateur


Since 2022, Credit card deposits have been the norm in restaurants. Faced with high operating costs made even more expensive by inflation, no-shows jeopardize the financial equilibrium of establishments already under pressure.

Credit card deposits have become increasingly popular with reservation-based restaurants. Third-party reservation services such as Zen chef have made this new feature available at a modest cost (€2,000 per year). It reduces the no-show rate to around 1%, de facto eliminating their financial risk.

However, not all establishments are suited to this mode of operation. Those that attract a transient clientele, and non-starred restaurants in particular, need to research the advantages and disadvantages of this system and bear in mind that credit card deposits can act as a deterrent

List of restaurants researched and prices charged

Restaurant Country Amount of credit card deposit for 1 person Price of most expensive menu
Central Peru 65 € 75 €
Disfruta Spain 150 € 255 €
DiverXo Spain 365 € 365 €
Asador Etxebarri Spain 264 € 264 €
Alchemist Denmark 2.000 € 2.000 €
Maido Peru 75 € 224 €
Lido84 Italy 0 € 150 €
Atomix USA 363 € 363 €
Quintonil Mexico 55 € 248 €
Table by Bruno Verjus France 200 € 400 €
Trèsind Studio WATER 210 € 210 €
A Casa do Porco Brazil 19 € 55 €
Pujol Mexico 191 € 191 €
Odette Singapour 136 € 338 €
Le Du Thailand 131 € 118 €
Reale Italy 190 € 190 €
Gaggan Anand Thailand 370 € 370 €
Steirereck Austria 250 € 225 €
Quique Dacosta Spain 150 € 295 €
Flocons de sel France 300 € 370 €
Azurmendi Spain 300 € 300 €
Enigma Spain 100 € 220 €
Sazenka Japan 262 € 262 €
Meta Singapore 136 € 202 €
Enrico Bartolini Italy 500 € 350 €
Lyle’s United Kingdom 110 € 110 €
Ossiano WATER 312 € 312 €
Potong Thailand 26 € 144 €
Mingles South Korea 222 € 222 €
Wing China 230 € 230 €
Kadeau Denmark 120 € 430 €
Kei France 400 € 440 €
La Colombe South Africa 37 € 75 €
Ceto France 120 € 195 €
Ricard Camarena Restaurant Spain 100 € 210 €
Labyrinth Singapore 136 € 202 €
Saison San Francisco 90 € 90 €
Fu He Hui China 0 € 110 €
Maito Panama 0 € 92 €

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