A restaurant inundated with requests for free meals from influencers is employing a clever strategy to keep the shameless grabs at bay.
The unnamed restaurant in Greece gets “dozens” of requests every year from Instagram stars wanting a free feed in exchange for posting pictures of the restaurant, a post on Reddit revealed.
In response, the restaurant has made a counter proposal which to date no influencer has agreed to – pay for your meal, and the business will donate a meal to a person in need.
Reddit user u/Chamallow81, who claimed their family owned the restaurant, shared a screenshot of one typical message they received.
The message from the unnamed influencer said they would “love to come here with my friend in exchange for social media tagging”.
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The Instagram star even added that they usually “struggle to find” vegetarian restaurants and “would love to speak about this to my audience”, ending the post with the dates they will be available.
In response, the restaurant wrote back and said that while they are “very flattered that you chose our restaurant” they had “launched a social responsibility policy with Instagram foodies and influencers”.
“For every meal we sell to an influencer who posts our dishes on Instagram, we give a meal of the same value for free to someone in need (homeless, refugee, etc),” the restaurant explained.
It was a win-win situation, the restaurant said, claiming that those who had taken up their offer “usually receive 100s of positive responses”.
“In that way we gain publicity from your posts, and you improve your brand image by showing that you return something to the community,” they said.
But despite saying that some influencers had taken the restaurant up on the “positive” and “generous” offer, the poster on Reddit said that in reality “no one has ever accepted to come under this condition”.
“Most of the time they don’t even reply and some even delete their original message,” they wrote.
The response was applauded by other Reddit users, many of whom pointed out that if an influencer actually had ‘influence’ they wouldn’t have to reach out for freebies.
“Most of the people who actually have influence have influence in one specific area and have enough fans that people are OFFERING for them to use their product. If you’re at a level where you’re begging to ‘influence’ for their product, you have very little actual influence,” one person wrote.
“I guess they’ve spent all their money on buying bots and have none left for food,” another person added.
It’s not the only restaurant or hotel to crack down on requests from influencers for free stays and meals.
Last year, a Sydney bar’s response to an influencer that requested free drinks in exchange for posting on social media went viral.
In a post on its Instagram page, Bulletin Place shared screenshots of an exchange with an influencer that quickly went south.
The conversation started off politely enough, with the influencer complimenting the bar and saying it “would be great to promote you on Instagram”.
“That would be great. Thanks!” Bulletin Place’s Instagram account replied, before the influencer decided to make it clear they wouldn’t be doing it out of the kindness of their heart but in exchange for free drinks.
“Yeah nah lol,” Bulletin Place replied. “Good luck with your influencing mate.”
Bulletin Place was praised for their response on Instagram, with several people pointing out it was better advertising than anything an influencer could provide.
“Brilliant form guys! Your smack down was a better promotional tool for a bloke like me than any influencer would provide! Might pop in for a margarita!”
Originally published as Free meal influencers won’t accept