A vegetarian restaurant on the Greek island of Kos in the Dodecanese has put its foot down when it comes to “Social Media Influencers,” people who post their activities and opinions on media for others to emulate.
According to a recent article from the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper, the owner of the restaurant, who wishes to remain anonymous, politely declines these “celebrities” when they ask for free meals in return for free publicity for the establishment.
Instead, he always offers these individuals the option of the restaurant donating a meal to charity after the influencers pay for their own meal — and he has never been taken up on that proposition, not once.
The Daily Mail report says that an anonymous British Reddit user who is 39 years of age sparked a firestorm of discussion on the online forum this past week after disclosing that his family’s restaurant on Kos receives these types of requests from influencers on an ongoing basis.
“No one ever gets back” to the restaurant regarding this deal, according to the anonymous owner. He also had harsh words for these individuals, who often believe they are media stars, saying in his post “Dear influencers: You are just making a fool out of yourselves by trying to create a fake cosmopolitan lifestyle based on begging.”
The owner shared several of these requests, which are typical of what he and his family see on a regular basis. One of them reads: “I recently heard about your restaurant from a friend of mine who mentioned you serve great Greek dishes and vegan options. Would love to come here with my friend in exchange for social media tagging.”
The soon-to-be disappointed influencer goes on to say “I’ve visited Greece quite a few times and one thing I struggle to find is places with veggie and vegan options. Would love to speak about this to my audience. I’ll be in Kos from the 18-21 July.”
The restaurant’s reply reads: “Thank you very much; however our restaurant has a policy. We charge every influencer who wants to eat here normally; however we offer food of equal value to people in need instead. In that way we gain publicity from your posts, and you improve your brand image by showing that you return something to the community.”
This, the says, is all the reply he has given to people like this over the past three years, who believe so strongly in their social media power that they believe they deserve these types of perks.
The anonymous restaurant owner told interviewers from the Mail “NO ONE has ever accepted to come under this condition. That is, to pay for his food even if I will then offer free food of the same value to people in need. Most of they time they don’t even reply and some even delete their original message.’
His anonymous post garnered over 76,000 likes on Reddit, and there were hundreds of horrified replies to the issue on the forum Bored Panda, where it had been shared.
According to the Mail report, one poster said: “The funniest thing to me about these people is they don’t usually have THAT high of a follower count, or they do and it’s bot/inactive followers lol.”
Another poster stated “Most of the people who actually have influence have influence in one specific area and have enough fans that people are OFFERING for them to use their product. If you’re at a level where you’re begging to “influence” for their product, you have very little actual influence.”
A different poster joked”‘I guess they’ve spent all their money on buying bots and have none left for food.”
Yet another seemed to echo the vast majority of the posters, and perhaps the anonymous restaurant owner himself, saying “It’s time to go. To say down with influencing, its an industry that needs to die. How long are consumers going to let advertising rule their lives like a carrot on the end of stick in front of a horse?
“At some point the consumer class needs to stand up and say we reject your immoral attempts to control us for profit and we collectively agree that these practices should be outlawed.”