Lack of trust at Wynyard Quarter

Sitting down at Jack Tar in the Wynyard Quarter

Sitting down at Jack Tar in the Wynyard Quarter

We took overseas visitors for lunch at Jack Tar, a restaurant pub in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter. The food is more expensive than in less attractive spots, but not bad.

However, I doubt I’ll eat there again.

When we ordered, the waitress asked for a credit card. She said this would go “behind the bar”. I’ve done this before in pubs. Usually handing over a card is an option. This was a requirement.

We played along. Not doing so would spoil the moment. This is worrying on two counts.

First, I don’t have a personal credit card - that’s my choice. Does this mean I can’t eat at Jack Tar? I don’t know. I’m not planning to sit down and order before finding out.

Second, banks tell credit card holders not to let them out of their sight.

Sure, Jack Tar is an unlikely front for an international card skimming operation. That’s not the point. A business which can’t trust customers to pay the bill is in no position to turn round and ask for trust in return.

17 thoughts on “Lack of trust at Wynyard Quarter

  1. I agree, if they were that worried about it, why don’t they just get you to pay when you order. Mobile EFT-POS machines are cheap and quick these days (lots of pubs use them already). I personally wouldn’t be comfortable handing over my credit card for ‘safe’ storage behind the bar.

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  2. Mobile EFTPOS. You shouldn’t give the credit card to them. Your comment that “it’s unlikely Jack Tar is a front for an international card skimming operation” is naive.
    You don’t know Jack.
    The reality is that any time a credit card is taken away YOU are at risk.

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  3. Jack Tar’s policy with tab cards credit cards isn’t unique to them. I can name a handful of bars that do the exact same thing.

    The convenience factor for customers is you can run up a tab without having to get up and pay at the counter, or put in your pin every time on a mobile handset (which aren’t cheap if you have 5 or so hospo staff walking around)

    The danger for the bar is you walk out and leave without paying. While this may not seem like a big issue, if you have a couple of big tables do this each night, it starts getting really expensive really fast. Hospo doesn’t really afford margins big enough to make this doable long term.

    Just like petrol pumps on prepay, it’s been the few dishonest that have ruined it for everyone.

    I don’t know a solution to this – if you were a regular, the manager would probably be happy to give you a tab card without a credit card. Until you built up the rapport though, handing over a credit card is probably the only way to do it.

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    • Well, like I say, I don’t have a personal credit card though choice, so that means Jack Tar doesn’t get my business. I guess non-credit-card holders must be a smaller minority than table skippers for that approach to be a viable business model.

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  4. My sister went to The Library in Wellington, and they demanded a credit card first, which one of her friends provided. When he went to collect it and pay, the bar simply apologised that they had given it to someone else by accident!

    Apparently they didn’t see this as a big deal at all – and demanded that someone pay with another card instead. While I would have told them where to go in that situation, that group were students and caved pretty quickly.

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  5. It’s not uncommon. Especially in bars with a garden where people do have a habit of floating off.

    Also, they like you to open a tab rather than paying upfront as it makes it more likely for you to spend more.

    Really, the banks should stop dual-purposing cards for ‘online’ and ‘in-person’. Have an in-person card with just a chip and no number or magstripe to skim, and an online card to keep at home.

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  6. I was pondering this and when you buy petrol from Pak ‘n save, and you use a credit card (not you Bill) it puts a hold of $250 on your credit card, that, according to the notice, reverses itself out in a few days, and they apologise but that’s the way eftpos at pumps works and it’s the banks not them

    So given that, it could be as easy as the establishment swiping your card, and not retaining it, and if you do a runner they have at least your $250 and your credit card details?

    Not ideal, but in a similar vein to retention of the card as you describe.

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