Auckland dessert restaurant owner Brian Campbell has hit back at influencers asking him for free food as the hospitality industry struggles amid lockdown.

Campbell owns and runs Miann dessert restaurant, chocolate factory and patisserie, having shut down his premises completely for lockdown.

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He told BuzzFeed News he was relieved when the country's alert level was lowered to 3, meaning businesses would be allowed to reopen for contactless services.

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He'd opened up his restaurant for online and takeaway orders when he started receiving messages from influencers asking for free food in return for promoting his business.

"Literally in 10 minutes, I was getting messages from influencers requesting that we send free stuff so they could post it on their profile. I was like, f***ing hell, this is such a piss take," he said.

By the time he finished working that day, he'd received "five or six" similar requests from influencers.

Campbell urged people to think before asking for freebies from struggling businesses. Photo / Instagram
Campbell urged people to think before asking for freebies from struggling businesses. Photo / Instagram

As well as responding to the requests, he addressed them publicly on the restaurant's Instagram page.

"Dear Influencer," he wrote.

"PLEASE STOP FOR A SECOND AND THINK, Think about the Restauranters, food producers that have had ZERO income for a month, the possibility of 50% drop in revenue for the next few months. Think about the PEOPLE whom you are asking for stuff for free from, to boost your own profile.

"It's time for YOU to bring VALUE to your LOCAL BUSINESSES and go order some food from your favourite places, PAY FOR IT, POST IT, FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT. YOU JUST HELPED A SMALL BUSINESS!" he wrote.

Auckland chef Brian Campbell has had enough of people asking for freebies. Photo / Instagram
Auckland chef Brian Campbell has had enough of people asking for freebies. Photo / Instagram

Campbell criticised influencers for making requests during such a tough time for the hospitality industry.

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"I think a lot of people don't understand what we're going through. Going from having business to having zero business is quite a tough situation to be in."

Feedback on the post has been almost entirely positive, with one commenting in agreement: "Love this", and another writing "I hate it when people ask for free food."

"Thank you for speaking up! It's nonsense. We can't take it anymore either," commented another.