An Australian restaurant has ripped two ‘influencers’ to shreds after they asked for free meals. despite the foodservice industry suffering immensely amid the global pandemic.
Elle Groves, who runs the Two Teaspoons account with her friend Annie Knight, messaged an unnamed restaurant to see if she could dine in for free.
In exchange, she would post glowing reviews on her professional and personal accounts.
While free publicity seems alluring, it’s worth mentioning that between the two of them, Groves and Knight have amassed 7,000 followers and the restaurant they were hoping to ‘promote’ has a whopping 23,500 followers on Instagram.
Screenshots of the heated exchanges were uploaded by The Australian food writer John Lethlean.
“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 personal 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”
The owner then epically slaughtered Grove’s copy and paste job, citing that restaurants are struggling to keep afloat post lockdown and he had even taken a job on his ‘off days’ at a different venue to properly pay their staff.
In his response, the owner wasted no time telling Groves how inappropriate her message was.
“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 actually 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.”
Lethlean later posted the ultimate takedown tagging #couscousforcomment – a popular online movement that exposes wannabe food reviewers and influencers who ask for free meals in exchange for ‘positive promotion’.
The movement was launched six years ago by award-winning bartender Tim Phillips, who was ‘fed up’ with the amount of aspiring ‘foodies’ who contacted him for free food and drinks 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.”
To all you influencers misbehaving, please refrain from asking restaurants for free meals, especially after the tumultuous past few years they’ve had.