Restaurateur criticises Real Housewives of Cheshire stars for asking for free meal

The restaurant owner has posted an image of an email from a representative of the stars

Sarah Young
Wednesday 15 May 2019 16:46 BST

A restaurateur has publicly lambasted several cast members of the Real Housewives of Cheshire for asking for a free meal.

On Tuesday, Chis Laidler, the owner of independent wine bar and small plate restaurant Convino in Chester shared a screenshot on Twitter of an email he received from a member of ITV’s public relations team.

“Real Housewives of Cheshire stars Dawn Ward, Rachel Lugo and Perla will be in Chester later today and I was wondering whether you would be interested in offering a complimentary dinner and drinks in return for social media posts?” the email read.

“All the ladies have a large following and would be able to promote the restaurant.”

The post, which featured the screenshot alongside a vomiting emoji, received more than 5,000 likes and hundreds of comments from Twitter users calling the cast “scroungers” and “cheapskates”.

“Absolute state of this, begging letter to a small business so millionaire’s can have a free dinner. Bar the scruffs,” one person commented.

Another added: “Wow, I understand social media marketing etc, but these women can CLEARLY afford to pay for their own meals! So, so grabby!”

A third person wrote: “Makes me fume this stuff. What an absolute beg.”

Others praised the bar for sharing the email, suggesting that the post on Twitter is likely to bring them more business than if they had offered the reality TV stars a free meal.

“This tweet has actually generated more publicity than any influencer would,” one person commented.

Another person wrote: Next time I eat out in Chester I will come to @covinochester based on this post. Bravo.”

A third added: “I’m going to come and eat in your restaurant, pay for my meal and tip the staff because if your response. Brilliant marketing.”

Speaking to CheshireLive, Laidler accused the reality stars of “abusing their position” to get free food and drink from small independent businesses like his own.

“For the larger businesses, I do understand why they give away free stuff in exchange for promotion but for us, as a small independent business it leaves a bitter taste,” Laidler said.

“I'm working for peanuts, on my hands and knees scrubbing floors and would have been down around £300 for a few seconds of 'advertising' on Instagram - it's just not on really.”

The Real Housewives of Cheshire aren’t the only celebrities to be criticised for asking for freebies.

Earlier this month, Gareth Gates was called out after an Instagram user shared screenshots of private messages from the Pop Idol singer asking bars in Birmingham for free drinks in exchange for social media posts.

“Hi, Gareth Gates here. Myself and my fiancé (Faye Brookes from Coronation Street) are in Birmingham on Saturday,” the message read.

“We’re looking for places to go and wondered if you could do anything for us in exchange for social media posts etc.”

The message quickly went viral online with many people calling Gates a “scrounger” and a “freeloader”.

The Independent has contacted Chris Laidler and ITV for comment.

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