Amid the coronavirus outbreak, restaurants around the world are struggling to survive. Many eateries have had to close, some have adopted a takeout model, while others have started selling groceries just to keep their workers. Business Insider has stated that 1 in 5 restaurants in the US could permanently shutter because of the pandemic.

But there’s nothing sacred when it comes to influencers. It turns out, coronavirus doesn’t stop them from wanting a fine dining experience. Free of charge, of course. And the Aussie food critic John Lethlean isn’t buying it. He has been exposing the scroungers in a series of Instagram posts captioned with “#couscousforcomment” for a while now. John has now got a fan base of 20.9K followers on his Instagram account. And no freebie-craving influencer is safe from his radar!

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John has been exposing the influencers who still ask for free food in return for a “review” amid the current crisis

Image credits: johnlethlean

This blogger thought a free b-day brunch menu for his posts would be an excellent transaction

Image credits: johnlethlean

The wine merchants looked far from impressed by the deal

Image credits: johnlethlean

This foodie has his own idea of collaboration in mind

Image credits: johnlethlean

Bored Panda contacted John Lethlean, Australia’s only national restaurant critic, and asked him to share his opinion on such non-exemplary behavior. And John wasn’t sugarcoating the situation: “As a restaurant reviewer with 23 years experience, the notion that these people ‘review’ makes me sick.”

According to John, there are plenty of people in the café and restaurant spaces who are extremely ignorant of how things operate. “They are susceptible to bluff and bravado. I can see how those who are marginal from a profit perspective might believe this is a reasonable quid pro quo.”

In fact, some restaurant runners “are not in a position to analyze the impact of this so-called ‘influence’ and they don’t think about what it may or may not do to their brands.”

With that aside, up until the coronavirus outbreak, the Australian restaurant industry was doing “good.” John commented: “It was fiercely competitive, oversupplied with providers but too expensive, partly attributable to Australia’s employment laws and penalty rates.”

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