Restaurants in and around London are charging heavy fines for customers who fail to honour bookings.
A survey by the Evening Standard found that 75% of London's best-known restaurants charge a cancellation fee.
The three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, fines customers up to £100 per head if they cancel a booking with less than five days notice.
Bentley's Oyster Bar in the West End theatre district charged no-shows £30 per head.
Experts have criticised the American practice of taking credit card details when bookings are made.
Gaby Huddart, editor of the Square Meal restaurant guide, said restaurants were reacting to customers' "bad manners".
"Restaurants aren't greedy but they have very high overheads and narrow margins."
By Kerstin KÁ¼hn
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