P.F. Chang's Is Using Stone-Age Credit Card Tech So It Can't Be Hacked

Illustration for article titled P.F. Changs Is Using Stone-Age Credit Card Tech So It Cant Be Hacked

Restaurant chain P.F. Chang's China Bistro got hacked recently, compromising thousands of credit cards. Oopsies. But business doesn't stop just because you got hacked, so in the short term the company is resorting to some old-school tech so that it can keep taking plastic.


Earlier this week, Brian Krebs reported that thousands of credit cards linked to the restaurant had shown up on the black market, and yesterday, the company confirmed the breach. While P.F. Chang's works with banks and law enforcement to figure out just what happened, it's taken steps to ensure it can safely keep the lights on, and that means taking credit cards the old-fashioned way. According to the PFC statement:

P.F. Chang's has already reported this incident to the card companies. We provided manual credit card imprinting devices to all P.F. Chang's China Bistro branded restaurants in the continental U.S. to prevent any further potential exposure of our guests' credit and debit card information.


The company operates roughly 200 locations in the United States and they all had to be rushed one of those old manual imprint machines with the slider and the carbon copy receipts. And the sound. Remember the sound?

It's amusing to think of a company that does revenues of over $1 billion per year resorting to 40-year-old technology like this. It's so slow! How would you even react if a waiter came over to your table with one of those machines? Still, it should serve as a reminder that the infrastructure our retail economy rests on is fragile, and when something goes wrong we can get blasted into the 1970s overnight. [Security Week, P.F. Chang's, Krebs on Security]

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How would you even react if a waiter came over to your table with one of those machines?

I would imagine they would take the card back to the register station, process it there, then return the card, just like a normal transaction.

That said, if they did bring it out to the table, I'd totally get all nostalgic. I remember those slowly disappearing when I was a kid. Blast from the past! Johnny Rockets (And other nostalgia themed restaurants) should think about bringing 'em back... at least for show, if not in practice.