Bloggers are not marketers! Well, this statement is wrong at many levels today because most of today’s bloggers, most straight out of college, get a fake sense of celebrity-hood when their blogs reach a particular follower base, and they can go to any extent to please restaurants and PRs by writing raving reviews, so that they do not miss out on getting invites.
In turn restaurants treat them as nothing more than a marketing tool, who, for them, is no more than a medium to reach the audience. At the end it’s all about numbers.
When blogging started it was simply about sharing experiences. Those who used to blog about food were actually passionate about eating and used to write for their readers and not for the restaurants. Some passionate bloggers exist today as well but the numbers are diminishing with each passing day.
While many bloggers have forgotten the ‘review’ aspect of the blog which means giving an honest account of the experience, some restaurants even think that providing free food to a blogger in itself is a reason enough that he/she will write a fabulous review irrespective of how inedible the food actually is.
A popular international chain Hard Rock Cafe went a step ahead and displayed a kind of hospitality which is fit to go into the history books of blogging. Firstly, around 24 bloggers were made to adjust in a table which could not have accommodated more than 12 people. It’s not that there were not enough vacant tables. In fact when we reached there the entire cafe was empty.
The preview of their World Burger Tour Festival started with showcasing their cocktails, which were also a part of the festival. The chef gave us the description of the first cocktail. The shocker came when they wanted us to review their cocktails on the basis of one sip only.
What actually happened was that they placed a single cocktail in front of 8 bloggers and asked them to share it. When we told them we can’t share from a single cocktail, they transferred the contents of the glass into 8 shot glasses. When we asked whether we can order separate ones for us, they said no you can only order mocktails. Mind you, they specifically wanted us to review cocktails and not mocktails as mocktails are not part of the festival.
The cheapness didn’t end here. When the burgers arrived the chef gave a detailed description of the burger which followed by a picture taking session took a total of 20 minutes. By that time the burgers went completely cold and inedible. What followed was completely unexpected. They cut the cold burgers into four pieces each and asked bloggers to share them.
On request they reheated them but what the hell. Out of the seven burgers that were part of the festival, only three were vegetarian so I’m sure at least the vegetarian bloggers went home hungry as they got to share only one fourth from each of the three burgers.
Coming to the taste, the burgers can at the most be described as average. I found the non-veg ones better than the vegetarian ones. I’m judging on the basis of a couple of bites only but I liked the taste of the Tennessee BBQ Burger which consisted of a tenderloin patty, melted cheddar, fried egg and bbq pulled chicken; and the Lebanese Burger whose Shawarma Spiced patty was the highlight, and its taste was enhanced with feta cheese kafta spiced onion, garlic hummus, mushrooms and peppers. The vegetarian burgers lacked the flavour and only Quesadilla Burger with all the Mexican flavours appealed to my tastebuds although excessive avocado doesn’t make sense.
I am really keen on knowing who advises these international chains to host such kind of bloggers meets where bloggers are made to feel like school kids who flock around the person who is distributing sweets, just to get one toffee. I know many bloggers would not boycott the place even after reading this as it would mean one less invite, but I cannot help but feel pity for them.
Disclaimer – This review was done on an invitation from the establishment. Views expressed in the review is entirely ours and without any bias. Pictures of the dishes are not the standard portions, they are sample portions.