Restaurant owner blasts Aussie foodie influencers 'looking for free stuff'

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·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
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An angry restaurant owner has blasted two foodie 'influencers' who sent them a message saying they would love to try the restaurant out in exchange for social posts on their @twoteaspoons account.

Elle Groves and Annie Knight are the owners of the account, which has just over 1200 followers.

Two Teaspoons influencers
A restaurant owner has blasted foodie 'influencers' Elle Groves and Annie Knight for asking for 'free stuff' from a small business. Photo: Instagram/twoteaspooons

Elle approached the unnamed restaurant, writing: "Hey guys! My friend and I have a food page together – @twoteaspoons – 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."

She continued, "Would you guys be interested in doing this collab? If not, we completely understand. We can't wait to hear from you xxx."

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The interaction, including the restaurant owner's response, was shared by The Australian's restaurant critic John Lethlean, it read: "Hey Elle, apologies for the delay...I've been grappling with how much rage to demonstrate/throw in your direction.

"I've decided to take the high road and explain a few things to you in the hope that you'll learn something and become a better person.

"Reaching out blind to a venue you know nothing about looking for free stuff is a s****y enough thing to do in the best of times.

"But it's even worse when Covid is still very much a thing, affecting small businesses like us devastatingly for two years now."

They continued, "Reaching out blind to a venue you know nothing about might also just trigger the owner (like me), who (as I have had to) might have even had to take a job at another venue on their days off just so they can continue to pay their staff properly and still be able to pay their rent."

The owner added that many hospitality venues are trying to catch up from "devastating losses and stresses over the past two years".

"In lieu of a 'collab', I thought I'd throw you some advice," they said. "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.

"In the meantime, maybe exchange money for the things you want to eat and drink, up your content quality and volume, and post those stories and posts anyway as a way of supporting a decimated industry. Eat, drink, spend and tip instead of beg and you'll probably be on the right path."

Elle Groves and Annie Knight influencers
Ella and Annie said their aim is to create awareness for small businesses by promoting them on Instagram. Photo: Instagram/twoteaspoons

The post was shared with the hashtag #couscousforcomment, a movement that, according to The Guardian, began in 2016 by a Sydney restaurant owner after an influencer offered them a review in exchange for a free meal.

John's followers shared their thoughts with one user writing, "That was a powerful, well-written response."

"Just brilliant," another agreed, while a third joked, "Cooked to perfection."

"A very polite and on-point response," someone else added.

"I can feel that burn from here," another said.

Ella and Annie, who have a combined following of almost 8,600, spoke to the Daily Mail about the situation, saying their aim is to create awareness for small businesses by promoting them on Instagram.

"We have never asked companies for free food, it is always left open to them to what they want to offer, " they told the publication.

They shared that almost every time they have shared a restaurant on their account, they have paid full price.

"We always have the restaurant's interest at heart and have a huge passion for food and the experiences it brings."

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