Keep your cash and put away the plastic. A new restaurant in Italy will waive payment if customers can show that they have legions of followers on social media.
In what they claim is a world first, brothers Matteo and Tommaso Pittarello hope the initiative will raise publicity for their new sushi restaurant in Milan, which opens on Monday, while not costing them an arm and a leg.
The concept is simple. Customers walk into their restaurant, called This Is Not A Sushi Bar, order a plate of food and then post a picture of the meal and the restaurant on Instagram.
On the basis of how many followers they have, the next dish – and possibly more after that – will be free.
Anyone with 1,000 to 5,000 followers will get one free plate of sushi or sashimi.
For clients with 5,000 to 10,000 followers, there will be two plates gratis.
With up to 50,000 followers, you can count on not having to pay for four dishes, while eight plates will be free for people with up to 100,000 followers.
The lucky few who can boast stellar social media popularity, with more than 100,000 followers, will be able to eat as much as they like without paying.
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🍣✨ Oggi vi auguro buon appetito con la cenetta di qualche sera fa 💑: Quando arrivate a casa stravolti e non avete voglia di cucinare/uscire…grazie di esistere combo @thisisnotasushibar + @justeat_it ❤️ ✨🍣 #cena #sushi #thisisnotasushibar #uramaki #salmon #edamame #healthy #healthyfood #nigiri #hossomaki #milano #foodie #foodporn #sushimilano #sushiadomicilio #love
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“A pop-up restaurant in London came up with a similar idea a couple of years ago, but it only lasted a few weeks. The same thing happened in St Petersburg. We intend to be the first restaurant in the world to offer this on a permanent basis,” Matteo Pittarello told The Telegraph.
The brothers acknowledge that there is a risk that the restaurant will be swamped with customers boasting huge numbers of social media followers and claiming free food, but they do not think it will break the bank.
“This is just one of six restaurants we have in our chain and 90 per cent of our business is for home deliveries and takeaway food. So it will only be a small proportion of our customers who take advantage of the offer. The aim is to raise our visibility,” Mr Pittarello said.
Other business are experimenting with offering discounts to clients who have a high profile online.
“Some hotels offer promotions to customers on the basis of their social media following,” said Vincenzo Cosenza, a marketing expert from Buzzoole, a company that connects businesses with social media influencers.
“There is a similar initiative in which hotels and restaurants offers discounts in exchange for reviews on websites like TripAdvisor,” he told La Stampa, an Italian daily.