PUNTERS failed to turn up to newly-opened pubs without warning, with a whopping 60 “no shows” in just one beer garden.

The Bread and Cheese, in Benfleet, has accused customers of table-surfing - where groups book a table at multiple restaurants, then decide on the night which restaurant to go to.

This means the pub was at risk of losing more than £2,000 in takings.

The pub saw 60 no shows across two days last week.

Meanwhile, pubs and restaurants in Southend have been forced to take credit card details of customers or avoid bookings altogether to stop the no shows.


Steve Haslam, owner of TLC Inns, which operates the Bread and Cheese, said: “It’s so frustrating.

“We’ve laid on more staff for the re-opening as well, and opened a new decking with more seats.

“We’ve been closed for so long, we don’t need this. Luckily we were able to fill the tables, but only because the demand is there.

“We could have lost than £2,000 if we weren’t able to fill the tables.”

Sadiq Chikte, the manager of the Seven Hotel, on Clifton Terrace in Southend, asks diners to provide their card details when they book.

He said: “It’s through a secure system and customers have to give us 24 hours notice before they cancel.

Chinnerys, on Southend seafront says it will stay clear of bookings. Manager Simon Patterson said: “We don’t take table bookings for exactly that reason.

“We’re operating a table service, but no table bookings.”

Pubs across the country were able to open for outside service from April 12, with indoor drinking permitted from May 17.

The Jolly Friars in Basildon give customers 30 minutes to arrive before allowing walk-in punters to use the table.

Managers at the pub were forced to turn punters away last week, only to have pre-booked customers fail to arrive on the same day.