You’ve probably already seen this tweet this week…
The start of another week in paradise..🙄 pic.twitter.com/zLP3bhBORV
— campagne restaurant (@campagnekilkenn) September 19, 2017
The restaurant (which has been Michelin starred since 2014) shared a part of an email from a blogger requesting a selection of items on a menu to include the restaurant in a guide. It’s caused lots of discussions about whether the blogger or the restaurant is in the wrong, but it’s a lot less clear cut than that.
First, it’s important to remember that we are only seeing the part of the email the restaurant has cropped. We don’t know what else was said, or whether the email was tailored to the restaurant (or was this just a blanket email sent to a few places). It’s entirely possible that the blogger did do some of the things that we’ll talk about, but for the sake of argument, lets assume the image shows the complete email.
When pitching to any business, whether it’s a large multinational or a local restaurant, you should be including your statistics and what you can provide. In that respect, the original email does do that well – they explain what they are willing to do in return for a few items on the menu. What they are missing out though is why the restaurant should be providing this – are they a site well known for vegan food reviews? Do they have a decent social following to justify the live tweeting/Instagramming during the meal? It may feel like you’re having to justify your existence, but those are the risks involved in pitching for collaborations.
Smaller businesses like an independent restaurant are less likely to know much about blogging, so something that the author of the email could have done is to write about why working with bloggers can be beneficial for small businesses. Instead of requesting “a vegan meal for two” or “several items“, the author could have sent a more basic email saying that they were interested in visiting the restaurant and whether there was any potential to work together. Another way to approach the restaurant would be to email the restaurant to ask what vegan options they did, and that because I was a blogger, would they be able to seat me near a window for good photo lighting (or maybe away from other customers to be able to take photos with a light without disturbing them). The blogger would get decent photos (always a good thing in food blogging!) and the restaurant might be more willing to offer a discount. A friend who owned a restaurant recently said that if a blogger approached him, he would offer free starters and deserts, but the blogger would need to pay for the main meal, which is something that could have happened here.
What would you do differently in this situation?