Miss Katie’s Crab Shack owner criticizes ‘influencer’ for requesting free food in exchange for social media posts
An Australian restaurant owner has taunted an “influencer” for asking $100 worth of free Food in exchange for a social media post — just weeks before it closes.
Katie Marron is expected to permanently close Miss Katie’s Crab Shack in Melbourne on July 29 after operating for nine years due to the impact of COVID-19 and rising costs.
Despite sharing her struggles to keep her business afloat, a 10,000-follower “shameless” food blogger approached the restaurant on Instagram, asking if she could “review” the venue before its closure.
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However, the social media request fell on deaf ears, with the owner calling out the “foodie” for blatantly asking for freebies.
Katie Marron is expected to permanently close Miss Katie’s Crab Shack in Melbourne on July 29 after operating for nine years. Credit: Miss Katie’s Crab Shack
“Okay, given the cabin’s closure on July 29, could you please explain how this would benefit me and my struggling business, which is weeks away from closing due to financial pressures,” the owner told the blogger.
Trying to justify her request, the influencer replied, “Don’t worry, I could ask my followers and promote the restaurant, and many people would come. But understand if $100 is a lot [to ask]†
The owner then explained that the influencer’s posts would not pay her bills.
“After the crippling few years the hospitality industry has dragged through it, I would like to see people like you better understand what it takes to put that plate of food on a customer’s table,” Katie said.
“You would like to visit my restaurant, and you are a fan of catering establishments, so I invite you to come to support my company in its final days and pay for a full meal.
“Unfortunately, your messages, as beautiful as they are, just won’t pay my bills.
“Let me know if you would like me to reserve a table for you; I will gladly assist you.”
A “shameless” food blogger with 10,000 followers approached the restaurant on Instagram, asking if she could “review” the location before closing. Credit: Miss Katie’s Crab Shack
The message exchange was again shared on Instagram by Australian restaurant critic John Lethlean, who called out the blogger for an attempt to trade photos for free Food under the hashtag #couscousforcomment.
“Nice overtures here from the food blogger picking up Katie’s Crab Shack and offering what, exactly? Shame. Shame. Too bad,” Lethlean wrote on his Instagram.
Many rallied behind the restaurant owner when they called out the blogger’s “tone-deaf” request.
“Devastated. I hate food bloggers who claim one thing, but the reality is another. I am devastated that Katie’s Crab Shack is closing, and we will be fully supportive of how we can before you close,” one wrote.
Another said: “This is disgusting… people have no idea how difficult hospitality is.”
The owner then explained that her messages would do nothing to pay her bills. Credit: Miss Katie’s Crab Shack
While one added: “I hate these food bloggers who expect everyone to give them free s*** for reviews. If you’re good at it, pay for the Food and make money with paid advertising.”
After receiving a response on Wednesday, the Melbourne food blogger in question has since deleted her Instagram account.
Her bid to get free Food comes just weeks after Katie shared a heartfelt post confirming her restaurant’s closure.
“No one could have predicted the rocky road,” she said.
“Due to the impact of Covid and rising costs, I have struggled to keep the Shack alive.
“The hospitality landscape has changed, and it’s time to rethink things.
“I’ve held the Shack as long as possible because I love her so much; she’s served me well.
“But it is time for a new beginning. I need to embrace change and move in a new direction. It’s time to call it a day.
“It is with mixed feelings that I will say goodbye to my beloved Crab Shack.”