A pub landlord has defended his decision to charge customers up to £30 if they fail to turn up.
Barney Reynolds has launched a war against "no-shows" at his pub The Swan Inn, in Worcester, after a minority of people failed to fulfil their reservations.
Customers now have to give their credit-card details when booking a table.
If they fail to turn up or cancel less than 24 hours before their reservation, £20 will be deducted for lunch and £30 for dinner.
Reynolds said: “No-shows and last-minute cancellations are one of the biggest issues facing our industry.
“It follows on from a period where most restaurants and pubs have been unable to open for 10 months out of 14.
“It’s an issue which is becoming worse. We were one of the very few that you could order, book or buy in advance where either your card details or a deposit aren’t required.”
But some customers have reacted angrily to the plan, accusing the pub of “blackmailing” people into turning up even if their plans change.
One person wrote on Facebook: “I have sympathy with pubs but come on, give the punters some flexibility.
“You might book a table and then get ill or someone in your party, like an elderly relative, falls ill on the day of the meal.
“What are you supposed to do? Bring a poorly person into a pub? Surely that’s worse than no-showing."
Another user added: “This is plain greed. Have you seen their menu? You’d need a small mortgage for dinner anyway.
“Not all no shows or late cancellations are selfish. Sometimes plans change. You can’t just fine people for choosing not to eat in your pub.
"I don't want to be blackmailed into eating an expensive meal just because my plans happen to change after I've made the booking."
Others approved of the plans, saying the pub industry needs “all the help it can get”.
Swan Inn regular Denise Archer said: “I don’t see what the problem is.
“You book a table and if you don’t show up then you have to pay for the staff wages that night. It’s only fair.
“Pubs need all the help they can get at the moment and the last thing they need are selfish people not turning up or giving enough notice.”
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