Friday 22 June 2018

Irish Michelin star restaurant's damning response when yet another 'reviewer' asks for free meal

Garrett Byrne of Campagne at Gashouse Lane in Kilkenny. Photo: Dylan Vaughan
Garrett Byrne of Campagne at Gashouse Lane in Kilkenny. Photo: Dylan Vaughan
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

The chef/owner of an Irish Michelin star restaurant has blasted bloggers requesting a free meal on social media.

Garrett Byrne of Campagne restaurant in Kilkenny was not impressed when a blogger emailed to request a free meal for two in exchange for 'significant online exposure'.

On Monday Garrett tweeted a segment of the email with the caption, "The star of another week in paradise..." with an eye roll emoji.

The email reads:

"We will be in Kilkenny specifically on 10 October.

"In exchange for a vegan meal for two (we would ideally like to try several items on the menu), we would be happy to provide significant online exposure on both our blogs and social media accounts:

- Inclusion in our 'Vegan Guide to Ireland and/or N Ireland' posts (working title) with permanent embedded links and photographs.

- In many cases we will also write a full separate review for your establishment.

- Live tweeting, Facebook, Instagram as we visit your restaurant."

Speaking to Independent.ie Garrett reveals that the restaurant receives about eight to ten such requests every year.

"They're always for a free meal in exchange for coverage on social media - Instagram, Snapchat whatever," he says.  "I just reply a firm 'no'.  I couldn't tell you who they are, but I wouldn't be giving them anything."

He adds, "I wouldn't dream of approaching a supplier and saying 'Give me some ingredients and I'll tweet a pic of them and say they're from you.'

"I don't see why any business should put up with this rubbish.  If you do look into it you find they've very few followers.  They're just blagging a free meal.  I can't see any restaurant accepting it.  Maybe there is one or two out there who possibly think it's a good idea but not us."

Garrett reveals that people take photos of their meals at Campagne all the time but they don't all approach him for free meals.

"Everyone has to make a living," he says.  "It's just ridiculous.  The cheek of them.  Maybe one out of a hundred places they approach will fall for it.  They've got a brass neck, to put it mildly!"

He says he takes "great pleasure" in emailing a polite response. 

"That's the best part of it!" he laughs.  "I find it funny.  I don't get upset by it.  But I do know that the same crowd have approached other restaurants and other companies.  They're planning their two week holiday and going around trying to get free accommodation, a free tour, free food. 

"It's brazen! But they won't be getting anything here."

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