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COVID-19 warning: Milky Lane urges Instagram influencers not to leave bad reviews on return

The owner of one of Australia’s most-Instagrammable restaurants has issued a stern warning to influencers as the industry crawls out of lockdown: ‘Don’t leave a horrible review’. 

Milky Lane’s outlandish burgers, milkshakes and cocktails have become a hit among the foodie social media set across New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT.

But just like any restaurant business, they have been hit hard by the COVID-19 lockdown that saw doors shut at midday on March 23 – more than two months ago.

With the lifting of restrictions across much of Australia – including NSW allowing 50 people to dine-in from June 1 – it is an exciting, but anxious time, for the struggling hospitality industry.

Many restaurants, cafes and bars are operating with less staff while modifying their businesses to comply with strict social distancing and dining limits.  

Which is why Milky Lane’s managers have pleaded with customers to raise issues in the store instead of on TripAdvisor or social media platforms to protect their brand and save jobs after the severe impact of COVID-19. 

The managers of Milky Lane, one of Australia’s most-Instagrammable restaurants, has issued a stern warning to influencers: ‘Don’t leave a horrible review’

Milky Lane asked customers to be kind upon their return post-COVID-19, urging them to raise any issues in the store instead of on social media in a bid to protect their brand after the severe impact of the pandemic

Milky Lane asked customers to be kind upon their return post-COVID-19, urging them to raise any issues in the store instead of on social media in a bid to protect their brand after the severe impact of the pandemic

The blunt message – aimed mainly at pompous influencers – is the latest in a running battle with restaurants also slamming diners for making bookings and failing to show up, or owners mocking D-Listers for demanding free food in return for positive social media posts. 

‘If you walk into OUR restaurant, someone else’s or any commercial premise and you see some mistakes, DON’T reach for your phone to record it all or take some pics to upload to social media,’ the post on Milky Lane’s Facebook page read.

‘Ask for the owner. Get “Karen” to speak to the manager. 

‘Let a supervisor or your wait staff member know that something is wrong. 

‘Don’t leave a horrible review, reach out so we can fix it. 

‘We’ve gone above and beyond to stay afloat during COVID-19 and are so excited to see you all again, reemploy our staff and create experiences together.’ 

The post comes as business owners also call out customers who make reservations but never never turn up. 

Restrictions on pubs, cafes and restaurants were lifted across most of Australia on May 15 allowing up to 10 people to dine inside a venue but with only a small number of customers allowed every booking and table counts. 

Milky Lane's outlandish burgers, milkshakes and sugary cocktails have become a hit among social media lovers across New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT

Milky Lane’s outlandish burgers, milkshakes and sugary cocktails have become a hit among social media lovers across New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT

Christian Avant, one of the restaurant's four co-founders, said last month that while damaging to their business the pandemic provided them an 'opportunity' to improve their restaurants

Enormous burgers such as this have become a hit among Instagram and photography lovers

Christian Avant, one of the restaurant’s four co-founders, said last month that while damaging to their business the pandemic provided them an ‘opportunity’ to improve their restaurants 

The stage two relaxing of restrictions is due to come into force in NSW on June 1, at which point up to 50 people will be allowed into venues such as Milky Lane (pictured)

The stage two relaxing of restrictions is due to come into force in NSW on June 1, at which point up to 50 people will be allowed into venues such as Milky Lane (pictured)

Beppi’s restaurant in Darlinghurst in Sydney’s inner-city last week said a party-of-six did not show up for their meal, or bother to cancel.

’60 per cent of our revenue GONE. No call to cancel, their phone just goes to message bank,’ the Italian restaurant wrote on Facebook on May 22. 

‘Disgraceful behaviour.’

‘The selfish few spoil it for others and inflict further financial pain of an industry already decimated by the pandemic.’

Low 302 in Surry Hills, Sydney also unleashed on a woman named ‘Aimee’ for making a reservation for a party-of-four and then not following through.

‘We had people on a waiting list who would have been happy to take your reservation,’ they wrote on Facebook on May 16.  

‘You have single handedly set the worst precedent for our entire industry at this most difficult time.

‘Aimee, there is a special place for you to burn in hospo hell.’ 

Beppi's restaurant in Darlinghurst in Sydney's inner-city last week said a party-of-six did not show up for their meal, or bother to call to cancel

Beppi’s restaurant in Darlinghurst in Sydney’s inner-city last week said a party-of-six did not show up for their meal, or bother to call to cancel

'60 per cent of our revenue GONE. No call to cancel, their phone just goes to message bank,' the famous Italian restaurant wrote on Facebook on May 22

’60 per cent of our revenue GONE. No call to cancel, their phone just goes to message bank,’ the famous Italian restaurant wrote on Facebook on May 22

The stage two lessening of restrictions is due to come into force in NSW on June 1, at which point up to 50 people will be allowed to return to venues such as Beppi's (pictured)

The stage two lessening of restrictions is due to come into force in NSW on June 1, at which point up to 50 people will be allowed to return to venues such as Beppi’s (pictured)

Restrictions on pubs, cafes and restaurants will be eased even further next month to allow more people through the doors once stage two begins.

The stage two lessening of restrictions is due to come into force in NSW on June 1, at which point up to 50 people will be allowed into venues.

Victoria will also move to stage two from next Monday, but only 20 people can enter pubs, cafes or restaurants at once.

South Australia will move to stage two on June 5, Western Australia on June 8 and in Tasmania the further lessening of restrictions will be on June 9.

Queensland will allow up to 20 people inside venues from June 12, while the ACT will do the same from May 30.

The Northern Territory has zero COVID-19 cases and will move to stage three on June 5, which means people will not have to order food to stay inside venues.

Low 302 (pictured) in Surry Hills, Sydney also unleashed on a woman named 'Aimee' for making a reservation for a party-of-four and then not following through

Low 302 (pictured) in Surry Hills, Sydney also unleashed on a woman named ‘Aimee’ for making a reservation for a party-of-four and then not following through

The Northern Territory has zero COVID-19 cases and will move to stage three on June 5, which means people will not have to order food to stay inside venues

The Northern Territory has zero COVID-19 cases and will move to stage three on June 5, which means people will not have to order food to stay inside venues

Industry expert Wes Lambert, chief executive of the Restaurant and Catering Industry Association, said he ‘only expects 75 per cent of businesses to survive’.

This is despite the federal government’s $130 billion wage subsidy scheme, JobKeeper, which does not include casual workers – many of whom work in hospitality. 

Celebrity chef Colin Fassnidge from My Kitchen Rules also predicted ‘one third of all restaurants around won’t make it, this is huge’.

Milky Lane started with one restaurant in Bondi Beach in 2016 and now has nine eateries on the east coast – including seven in Sydney.

But in the wake of the international pandemic that has crippled hospitality and so many other industries, the restaurant’s owners are planning to change how they operate.

Restrictions on public gatherings (pictured) and were first lifted across most of Australia on May 15, but people are still being advised to social distance

 Restrictions on public gatherings (pictured) and were first lifted across most of Australia on May 15, but people are still being advised to social distance

Christian Avant, one of the restaurant’s four co-founders, said last month that while damaging to their business the pandemic provided them an ‘opportunity’. 

‘Every single cent and per cent matters right now so we are tightening things up, looking at our costings and seeing where we can improve gross profit on the products we sell,’ Mr Avant told Inside Franchise Business.

‘We are well aware of our flaws and the things we need to improve on. This isn’t “time off” or a break for us, it’s the opportunity we needed to become the company we always wanted to be.

‘We are already speaking with leasing agents for new locations with intent to open a lot of new stores when this all dies down and things return to normal.’

The three-step plan to relaxing lockdown in Australia 

 STAGE 1

* Five visitors allowed at home

* Gatherings of up 10 in business and public places

* Work from home if it works for you and your employer

* Small restaurants, cafes and shopping open

* Home sales and in-person auctions resume

* Children back in classrooms

* Libraries, community centres, playgrounds and outdoor boot camps open

* Local and regional travel resume 

 STAGE 2

* Gatherings of 50 people in your home, business and public places

* Work from home if it works for you and your employer

* Gyms, beauty, cinemas, galleries and amusement parks open with COVID-safe plans 

* Organised community sport allowed

* Caravan and camping grounds reopen

* Some interstate travel

* States and territories may allow larger numbers in some circumstances

STAGE 3

* Gatherings of up to 100 people

* Return to workplaces

* Pubs, clubs, nightclubs, food courts, saunas and some gaming venues open

* All interstate travel resumes

* Consider cross-Tasman, Pacific island and international students travel

* States and territories may allow larger numbers in some circumstances 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk