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Restaurants Opt for Cash-Only Policy, but Risk Guest Backlash

Cash is king at local restaurants and bars struggling with a tight economy and small profit margins, writes the New York Post's Selim Algar

To avoid paying credit-card fees and -- shhh -- maybe fudge income numbers for the tax collector -- some merchants are treating credit cards as if they aren't worth the recycled plastic they're made of. In those places, cold cash is the only way to buy a hot meal. Those in the know say the trend is growing.

"I think there are obvious advantages, both legal and illegal, with the cash-only approach," said Nick Fauchald, editor in chief of the popular foodie Web site Tasting Table.

Veteran restaurant consultant Michael Whiteman said: "It definitely feels like it's more of an accepted practice now. You notice it more and more. When times get tough, restaurateurs look to cut costs."

One Brooklyn cash-only restaurant owner estimated that 5 percent of his gross sales had been going to the card companies.

"The fees the card companies charge hurt the smaller venue," the owner said. "But it's a gamble. You are going to annoy some customers.

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