Influencers Put On Blast By Chef For Trying To Score Free Food During The Pandemic

As small business owners are becoming increasingly fed up with influencers, many have decided to take action. In some cases, while hasty, this means banning them altogether. Scottish-born pastry chef Brian Campbell—who owns and runs the Miann dessert restaurant in Auckland, New Zealand—on the other hand, has decided to put influencers on blast on Instagram.

Like many businesses, Campbell’s Miann has suffered since the coronavirus pandemic put countries around the world on lockdown. So when New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced last week that she was lowering the country’s alert, meaning that most businesses would be allowed to reopen, he jumped at the chance.


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“As she was talking about it, I was like, ‘OK, I’m ready to go,'” Campbell later told BuzzFeed News. However, as he explains, literally within 10 minutes of announcing that the restaurant would be opening for online orders by offering contactless pick-up and delivery, Campbell began getting influencer requests for free desserts in exchange for Instagram exposure.

“I was like, f—king hell, this is such a piss take,” he very accurately surmised.

After getting “five or six” requests from influencers for free food (by the time he’d finished slaving away in his kitchen in the wee hours of the morning) Campbell took to Instagram to address these wannabe grifters.

“Dear Influencer,” he began his message. “Before you send that email asking us to ‘collab’ with you in return for free products to post on your social pages. PLEASE STOP FOR A SECOND AND THINK.”


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Up to 6 requests today for ‘collabs’. If I get anymore it’s name and shame time. Jog the fuck on ‘influencers’ #lostmyfilter

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“Think about the Restauranters, food producers that have had ZERO income for a month, the possibility of a 50 percent drop in revenue for the next few months,” continued. “Think about the PEOPLE whom you are asking for stuff for free from, to boost your own profile.”

He concluded his diatribe by imploring these so-called influencers to help bring value to their favorite local businesses by, you know, ordering food and paying for it. (What a novel concept!) And then post photos on social media!


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The responses we received for this post have been incredible, bar a muppet or two. We appreciate all the support, dm’s but you can see from the hundreds of comments and reposts the real feeling. ❤️ you all

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Campbell’s message clearly struck a nerve, as dozens—if not hundreds—of other small businesses began sharing his message in solidarity, which he then also shared on his page.

Although Campbell maintains that he has no hard feelings towards influencers, he was especially dismayed to see them trying to take advantage of businesses during these rough times for the restaurant and hospitality industry.

“I think a lot of people don’t understand what we’re going through,” he elaborated. “Going from having business to having zero business is quite a tough situation to be in. We’re supporting families, trying to keep our staff employed.”

“People in the industry are being like ‘thank f—k someone spoke up’ and just general customers [have been] asking if these requests really happen,” Campbell added. “A lot of positivity about this.”

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