The ‘Model Restaurant’ initiative was created by 29-year old 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.
Cimmino has said that the models must already have a substantial following on Instagram and be represented by a modelling agency.
Cimmino told Arabian Business that the initiative plans to expand to the Middle East region this year.
“With Model Restaurant we are planning to enter the Middle East market by offering our services by the end of 2019,” he said. “The Middle East market is one of the most important and [influential] in the world.”
'Like real customers'
In an interview with the UK’s Metro newspaper, Cimmino said that he currently has 12 restaurants in London and over 100 in Europe paying a monthly fee to ensure a steady flow of models.
“We have about 200 models and we expect to grow in the next two years to about 10,000 models worldwide,” he told the newspaper.
“They get a free meal because they are paying with their image,” he added. “Our value is the image of having them there and giving the benefit of a whole ambiance.”
Cimmino added that the 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.
Additionally, he said the service 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 had 280 followers.
The initiative’s website remains blank apart from a brief message: “get ready….something really cool is coming soon.”