The Model Restaurant initiative partners models with restaurants who give them free meals in exchange for social media exposure and an 'ambiance' boost
A new platform that provides models with free meals to help boost the “ambiance” of restaurants will launch in Dubai in December, its founder has revealed.
The ‘Model Restaurant’ initiative was created by Italian entrepreneur Giovanbattista Cimmino, the founder of London-based social media agency SocialAsk and Remodels, a modelling agency.
To use the service, models sign up by following the @ModelRestaurant page on Instagram – which is set to private – and then sending a direct message with their location.
Model Restaurant then matches the model with nearby restaurants who are willing to serve them complimentary meals, in exchange for “improving” the restaurant’s ambiance with their presence and sharing content on social media.
Responding to a query from Arabian Business, Cimmino said that the initiative is currently being used by 21 “top” restaurants in London, as well as 12 in New York City.
“We only work with fine dining restaurants and we are in contact with some top restaurants in Dubai – about 6,” he said. “We are planning to launch Model Restaurant (Middle East) in December."
He did not reveal which local restaurants he has interacted with.
Cimmino said that so far, about 100 models have expressed an interest in participating in the Middle East market.
“We expect to grow in the next months to about 400 models,” he added. “Our first goal is to offer a service that really works. We want to reach 10,000 models in the next year, but we also want to make sure that each of them can use the service smoothly.”
Additionally, Cimmino said that restaurants are offered a trial period to try out the initiative, “after which they can decide whether to use our platform or not.”
Previously, Cimmino has said that models must already have a substantial following on Instagram and be represented by a modelling agency to take part.
In an interview with the UK’s Metro newspaper in June, Cimmino said that the models “get a free meal because they are paying with their image.”
“Our value is the image of having them there and giving the benefit of a whole ambiance.”
Cimmino added that models need only behave “like real customers” and share images of the restaurant on their Instagram pages. They are not required to tag the Model Restaurant platform or thank the restaurant for their complimentary meal.
The service, he added, is “very confidential” to prevent a restaurant’s competitors and customers from knowing that models are dining there for free.
“It’s not something you are proud to talk about,” he said. “But they [restaurants] are proud to have a restaurant full of beautiful models.”
At the time of writing, the Model Restaurant Instagram page has 298 followers.