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Melbourne restaurant owner’s scathing response to food blogger’s request

A Melbourne micro-influencer asked to try a restaurant in return for social media posts – and the owner didn’t like it.

A restaurant owner in Melbourne has been infuriated by a micro-influencer’s request to ‘try out’ his restaurant in exchange for Instagram posts.

John Lethlean, food writer for The Australianshared posts between food blogger Elle Groves, who runs the Two Teaspooons account with her friend Annie Knight, and the anonymous restaurateur to her 23,500 followers.

Ms Groves wrote to the restaurant to say the couple thought it was amazing and offered to work together.

“We would love to come try it out in exchange for a few stories on our personal accounts, and a post and stories on our food page accounts,” she said.

“Would you be interested in doing this collaboration? Otherwise, we fully understand. We look forward to hearing from you.

The restaurant owner, who Mr Lethlean said shared the messages with him, was unimpressed with the request.

“Hey Elle, apologies for the delay…I’ve been struggling with the rage of protesting/throwing in your direction,” they replied.

“I decided to take the high road and explain some things to you in hopes that you’ll learn something and become a better person.

“Reaching out to the blind in a place where you know nothing about looking for free stuff is a pretty shitty thing to do at the best of times.

“But it’s even worse when Covid is still very much around, devastatingly affecting small businesses like us for two years now.”

The landlord went on to explain that they even had to take another job at another location on their days off to be able to continue paying staff and rent.

“Many hospitality businesses are still trying to make up for the devastating losses and stresses of the past two years, and we are definitely one of them,” the owner continued.

“Maybe give it about a year and see what the commercial landscape looks like, and see if you can amass enough subscribers that your ‘collabs’ actually benefit the places you so naively approach, instead of them only benefit you,” they said, offering advice “instead of” collaboration.

They ended by saying Ms Groves should pay for the food and post anyway to support the industry.

Ms Groves has 4650 followers, Ms Knight has 3920 and their @twoteaspooons account has 1190.

Ms Groves shared her response to the restaurant in a message to Mr Lethlean, which he later shared in part with his followers. She claimed the food critic sharing the original posts was bullying and harassing, and called for them to be taken down.

In a message, Ms Groves told the owner she appreciated their perspective and perspective, and apologized that her message had upset them.

“We will definitely be coming for a visit this year in support,” she wrote.

The exchange was shared with the hashtag #couscousforcomment, which features many other similar posts between influencers and business owners. has contacted Two Teaspooons for further comment.

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