Inside the World of Pay-for-Play Food Instagramming

Restaurants are desperately courting
Restaurants are desperately courting “influencers.” Photo: Apeloga AB/Getty Images

The Wall Street Journal is the latest publication to shed light on restaurants desperately courting popular food Instagrammers — offering free meals and, sometimes, hundreds of dollars in additional payment. It’s not exactly surprising that people with schticks like Food Baby (71,900 followers) get invited to eat for free, but what is interesting is that more serious restaurant groups are trying to get in on the action. Michael White’s Altamarea Group has started asking Instagram users to come in for meals, and shelling out cash to post photos. “For a couple of hundred bucks for one person, I’m going to have potentially 500,000 people seeing brunch at Morini,” says Olivia Young, White’s brand and communications director. The question: How many of those 500,000 people will come in and obnoxiously stand on their chairs to get the perfect overhead shot, annoying all the other customers?


Inside Pay-for-Play Food Instagramming