Influencers Are Still Trying To Get Free Food From Floundering Restaurants

All across the U.S., people in cities are living under shelter-in-place orders. Non-essential businesses are closing, unsure of when they’ll be able to open their doors again. That includes restaurants, a pretty integral part of most city living. While some have been able to keep their kitchens open so they can offer delivery service or take out, they’re still struggling and most servers no longer have any work. If you’re working in the restaurant industry, your heart is hurting right now.

If you’re in the influencer industry (if influencers can be considered industrious), things seem to be kind of going along just the same except that it’s harder to get free sh*t. That hasn’t stopped certain influencers from asking.

A few of them have started to be put on blast for their tone-deaf and oblivious requests for “collabs” that amount to free deliveries in quarantine, Indy 100 reports.

A chef name John Lethlean has exposed a few of the offenders, specifically a guy named Harry Cook.


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Lethlean shared screenshots of a conversation Cook had with P&V Wine Merchants asking for free monthly shipments of their organic wines in exchange for promotions on Instagram. 

“Thought it might be a cool collab?” Cook asks with a smiley face emoji. Whoever was responding at P&V was not pleased.

“That is totally uncool,” they replied. “We’re in here working our arses off to support a near devastated hospitality industry with ramifications on primary producers and wine makers who are at the brink in a destroyed industry and you want a free dozen wine a month for social media posts?”

Lethlean has frequently put influencers and other people who mess with him in an entitled way on blast on his Instagram, but the last few weeks have offered new opportunities to showcase influencer demands:


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If we are being incredibly generous, it’s possible that the gravy train has slowed for influencers as well and they don’t know how else to relate to people at this point aside from asking for free stuff and posting flattering selfies. They haven’t adjusted to the new order yet.

There are definitely some restaurants that have taken advantage of these sorts of exchanges. Eater interviewed Wanderlust Creamery co-owner Adrienne Nicole Borlongan who said she’s offered free ice cream to influencers in the past, think it’s well worth the boost on their platforms. But right now, it’s crazy to ask.

“I do appreciate it, but right now I can’t afford to give up even the cost of a single scoop of ice cream,” she said, since the ice cream store had lost about half its business since quarantine started.

On the bright side, several restauranteurs interviewed by Eater have said that they’ve had influencers contacting them and asking how they can use their platform to help without wanting anything in return. I’d like to know who those folks are so I can give them a follow.

More Instagram influencers being the worst: