After they asked for free meals, two ‘influencers’ in Australia were ripped to bits by an Australian restaurant. Even though the foodservice business has been hit hard by the global pandemic. Elle Groves, who manages the Two Teaspoons account with her friend Annie Knight, messaged an anonymous restaurant to inquire about a complimentary meal.
While free publicity seems appealing, it’s worth noting that Groves and Knight have a combined 7,000 Instagram followers, while the restaurant they were looking to ‘market’ has a massive 23,500.
The Australian culinary journalist John Lethlean shared screenshots of the heated debates.
“Hey, guys!” Groves writes.
“My friend and I have a food page together – @twoteaspooons – and saw your restaurant and thought it looked amazing!”
“We would love to come and try it out in exchange for some stories on our accounts, and a post and stories on our food page accounts.”
“Would you guys be interested in doing this collab? If not, we completely understand. We can’t wait to hear from you XXX”
Grove’s copy and paste job was then epically butchered by the owner, who said that restaurants are fighting to stay afloat following the lockdown and that he had even taken a job on his ‘off days’ at a different location to properly compensate his staff.
The owner took no time in informing Groves how improper her comment was in his reaction.
“Hey, Elle apologies for the delay…I’ve been grappling with how much rage to demonstrate/throw in your direction,” he said.
“But it’s even worse when COVID is still very much a thing, affecting small businesses like us devastatingly for two years now.”
And with a cinematic climax, the owner signed off by saying: “Maybe give it a year or so and see how the business landscape looks, and see if you can amass enough followers for your ‘collabs’ to be of benefit to the venues you approach so naively, instead of them being only of benefit to you.”
Grove defended her actions and told the Daily Mail: “We have never asked companies for free food, it is always left open to them to what they want to offer.”
Later, Lethlean tagged #couscousforcomment, a prominent online trend that exposes want tobe food reviewers and influencers who ask for free meals in exchange for ‘positive advertising.’
Tim Phillips, an award-winning bartender, started the movement six years ago because he was fed up with the number of aspiring ‘foodies’ who contacted him for free food and beverages in exchange for reviews.
He told 9Kitchen at the time: “We get asked a lot, and likewise other businesses, for glowing comments for free things, but the thing that kind of set me off on this one was this particular person was [asking] under the guise of a reviewer.”
Please, all you misbehaving influencers, stop requesting complimentary meals from restaurants, especially after the rough past few years they’ve had.