Aussie Restaurants Are Starting To Ban Influencers Wanting A Free Meal
There's nothing worse than a social media influencer trying to scam a free meal or overnight stay by promising to promote a restaurant or hotel on their various platforms.
While it might increase foot traffic, it doesn't change the idea that they're trying to get something for nothing.
But it seems like the tide is turning in Australia, where restaurant owners are banning these influencers if they try to blag a freebie.
Adelaide chef, Duncan Welgemoed savaged a former My Kitchen Rules contestant by posting the email the 'TV star' wrote asking for a bill-free meal in exchange for posting to their 11,000 followers.
The email to Welgemoed said: "We would love to come over on Saturday for dinner...In exchange, I can post food shots and stories on my Instagram page. I've got a very high engagement rate."
The chef replied with: "You do not generate any hype nor actual dollars for any business you post about. The ATO, suppliers, nor staff care about exposure."
Duncan isn't alone, he's joined by MasterChef star Matt Moran, who told the Daily Telegraph: "Now I just say no...It has gotten worse in the last couple of years.
"Because you have more of these 'reality TV' celebrities everywhere. Shows like MKR, The Bachelor...shows like that.
"They have a few thousand followers then they hit you up for free food...But I always enjoy watching the bill go out to the table."
It's understandable that owners don't want people coming in and taking the piss. However, it seems like it's not all doom and gloom in the industry, with one restauranter telling the Daily Mail that influencers help his business.
"I don't feel taken advantage of at all when they keep coming back because their Instagram posts pay off for us,' the owner said.
"We're the place to be right now. It's hard to measure [but] I'm sure one $20 meal will come back five times...the exposure you get from Instagram is a powerful tool."
It follows a luxury Dublin hotel banning YouTubers and the Insta-famous, after a 'social media influencer' asked to for a free five-night stay.
UK-based YouTuber Elle Darby got in touch with The White Moose Café in Dublin asking about a 'possible collaboration' - i.e. one big ol' freebie.
"I work as a social media influencer, mainly lifestyle, beauty & travel based," Darby wrote, also quoting her social media reach.
"My partner and I are planning to come to Dublin for an early Valentine's Day weekend from Feb 8th to 12th to explore the area.
"As I was searching for places to stay, I came across your stunning hotel and would love to feature you in my YouTube videos/dedicated Instagram stories/posts to bring traffic to your hotel and recommend others to book up in return for free accommodation."
The hotel's owner, Paul Stenson, responded to Darby - but decided to do so publicly, taking to The White Moose's Facebook page.
In the post, Stenson said that it takes 'a lot of balls' to send an email like that, but 'not much self-respect and dignity'.
He continued: "If I let you stay here in return for a feature in your video, who is going to pay the staff who look after you? Who is going to pay the housekeepers who clean your room? The waiters who serve you breakfast? The receptionist who checks you in? Who is going to pay for the light and heat you use during your stay? The laundering of your bed sheets? The water rates? Maybe I should tell my staff they will be featured in your video in lieu of receiving payment for work carried out while you're in residence?"
However, Stenson has also faced a fair bit of backlash for the post, with Facebook users branding the move 'tacky', 'unprofessional' and 'childish' - one even adding: "You have probably created more damage for your business than good by doing this."
Featured Image Credit: PA