The admins of a foodie Insta account with *checks notes* just over 1,100 followers have been blasted by the owner of a COVID-affected restaurant for trying to nab free meals.
Elle Groves and her friend Annie Knight are the owners of the @twoteaspoons account which at the time of writing boasts a whopping 1,189 followers.
Groves messaged the undisclosed Aussie restaurant on Monday via Instagram asking to try out their food in exchange for posts on their personal and foodie accounts.
It should be noted that while Groves’ personal account has 4k followers and Knight’s 3k, the bulk of their foodie content is published to their twoteaspoons account, limiting the potential benefit to the restaurant.
Screenshots of the heated exchange were published online by John Lethlean — a food writer for The Australian.
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“Hey guys!” Groves’ message to the restaurant begins.
“My friend and I have a food page together – @twoteaspooons – 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.
“Would you guys be interested in doing this collab?
“If not, we completely understand. We can’t wait to hear from you XXX”
In response, the owner of the restaurant sent a huge paragraph detailing their struggles in simply trying to keep their business afloat.
The owner wrote that they’d 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”.
They also called out the fact that Groves’ message was essentially a copy/paste job that could have been sent to any restaurant in Australia:
“Reaching out blind to a venue you know nothing about looking for free stuff is a shitty enough thing to do at 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.”
The owner ended their message on an extremely satisfying note:
“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 response, Groves told the Daily Mail that “we have never asked companies for free food, it is always left open to them to what they want to offer.”
“We have dined at 99 per cent of restaurants featured on our page paying full price.”
Lethlean shared the post using the hashtag #couscousforcomment — an online movement which began in 2016 by the owner of a Sydney restaurant after an influencer offered them a glowing review in exchange for a free meal as per The Guardian.
Just to be clear, a restaurant cannot pay their workers in couscous, especially during a pandemic.