It seems like more and more restaurants (especially small, chef-owned places) are asking for credit cards to secure a reservation, especially when it's for 6 or more people. I understand why they do this -- to help recoup some of the expense if you're a no-show -- but I'm curious about the process. When I give my card number, where does it go? Is it penciled into the reservation book? Is it put into a computer somewhere, and if so, is it ever deleted? I suppose what I'm really worried about it the security of doing this... if some creep manages to steal the reservation book, then what?
Can someone who works in the industry fill me in on what exactly happens to my card number once I provide it?