UPDATE: See Grill’d Burger’s latest controversial campaign – Coat of Arms Burger (18 January 2013) featuring the animals from Australia’s Coat of Arms.

As a result of the social media storm generated by Grill’d Burgers’ new campaign, on 28th March at around 2.23pm, I put a couple of questions to Simon Crowe, the chain’s founder.  The response arrived 29th March 2.57pm.

Grill’d claims this campaign has been taken out of context, so I’ve decided to include Simon’s response, unedited below:

Noodlies: You seem to be making the point that food can be glamorised by TV and Celebs – the media release supplied to noodlies had little mention of foodies in it. But the “no twitter” poster goes a bit further doesn’t it?

Is it Grill’d’s intention also to comment on the rise of foodies and food blogging as a flippant new fad? If not intentional, looking at this poster again, do you think it may be perceived by food bloggers and foodies as criticism?

Simon: Like any brilliant holiday spot, what makes it beautiful and successful can kill it. Those that get there early are fans and rave about it. Then it gets swamped by holiday makers of all sorts. Overrun and overexposed. That’s our take on celebrity chefs. When once it was purposeful and of quality, now it’s just an advertising gimmick. We have launched our burgers without celebrity endorsment and our team are proud of it.

We do think that food can be glamourised by celebs, our take is that the use of a celebrity chef to endorse a product was once purposeful but now overuse has caused it to become just another advertising gimmick. We have nothing against foodies or food blogs but it’s our aim to take the focus of all of that and back on our burgers. I hope food bloggers haven’t taken criticism to our posters, the posters were meant to be tongue in cheek, but we do love that this has got people debating (even if some parts have been taken out of context).

Noodlies: So will it be Grill’d Burger’s policy that patrons can’t take photos inside the restaurant and that they shouldn’t promote the chain via social media?

Simon: I don’t think we could ever stop patrons from taking pictures and people will never stop using social media. We aren’t against social media per se, we were just looking to have a little fun.


Full background and updates are below…

grill'd burger no social media

28 March, 1.15pm

According to Mumbrella today, burger chain Grill’d has declared war on social media and celebrity endorsements.  The cheeky campaign is aimed at promoting the joint’s unpretentious menu.

Posters are going up in Grill’d outlets targeting “foodies” and urging them to “please respect other customers” by refraining from the urge to promote Grill’d and their food via social media.  The “no cravats” reference is clearly a dig at the phenomenon of TV celebrity chefs (see above).  The posters suggest foodies should be polite at Grill’d by following their rule of “NO BLOGGING, NO TWEETING, NO INSTAGRAMMING, NO FACEBOOKING…”

According to a Grill’d media release (below):

“Whilst other restaurants and brands rely on celebrity chefs to get a ‘cravat’ of approval, these delicious cooked-to-order burgers are made with love, sans endorsement”.

Reaction from foodies have been quick and swift, ironically via social media, with the following twitter comments:

“thin line”

“it’s actually both cute and bad at the same time”


“Need to taste those rules”

“fab! It was a campaign begging to be done really, how fun!”

“I think now I’ll make a conscious effort to tell everyone about the last terribly dry, poorly-made @GrilldBurgers burger I had 🙂

“It doesn’t make sense though. On that poster they link to their Facebook page. Contradictory, no?

“obvious marketing ploy by @GrilldBurgers for social media attention/reaction to spread new burger menu — could backfire though”

“not a huge fan of their burgers – very ordinary i thought”

“my grilld experience was much like yours, dry and jaw-tiring.”

“SUCK. no loss. but a very dumb policy. wake up, it’s 2012!

“aren’t ppl being abit precious? Food bloggers openly judge resto offerings, they should b able 2 reply! It’s meant 2 b cheeky.

“and yes I’m biased a) I used 2 own a restaurant and b) grill’s make the best vego burgers (IMO!)”

“Feels like biting the hand that feeds them. They depend on social networking and bloggers, but dismiss the good it does them?

“Not sure the campaign makes that much sense. Who’s blogging/tweeting/facebooking Grill’d anyway? A cry for attention

“It was presumably tongue-in-cheek to generate a mini social media frenzy? Working?”

“sure has. But i have also added it to my black list.”

“It’s supposed to be tongue in cheek right? Sometimes I think we take life/burgers far too seriously…”

“How will @matwhi cope

“That’s fine I wasn’t in the mood for dry and chewy pattied burgers anyway. Ever.”

“they just tweeted re their founder is on FB for a chat about it all now…like hello!!!”

“Grill’d founder, Simon Crowe is not shy. Ask him about the campaign NOW 😉 www.facebook/grilldburgers

” isn’t the f**k you slogan on the badges/etc just a bit crass & makes the resto less accessible to families w/ kids.

“never even heard of them 🙂 I love my Hungry Jacks!!

Noodlies, Sydney food blog has sought comment from Grill’d and will update this post shortly (update: comments have arrived and are shown above).

In the meantime, what do you think of this cheeky new Grill’d burger campaign? Cheeky or cheap?  Love to know your thoughts.


28 March, 11.30pm

It seems that Grill’d may be backtracking and watering down their anti-social media message.

The Media release from Grill’d that was supplied to me around 1.50pm today is significantly different from an earlier version that was supplied to Mumbrella.  What’ s missing in the version supplied to noodlies?  The following paragraphs which specifically referred  to social media:

From today, stores nationally will be decked out with table talkers, posters in store windows, staff wearing ‘F#ck Celebrity Chef’ badges and a range of point of sale materials that all clearly displays that Grill’d has declared war on celebrity chefs. Other posters call on foodies to respect customers with bold rules such as:

· No bloggers

· No tweeting

· No instagramming

· No Facebook

· And absolutely NO cravats

The full version as provided by Grill’d to noodlies at 28 March 1.50pm is below:


From Tuesday March 27, Grill’d is waging a war on celebrity chefs with the
introduction of three new burgers that the team is proud to have created
themselves; the Hot Hombre, Goats Cheese & Hummus and Perfect

Whilst other restaurants and brands rely on celebrity chefs to get a ‘cravat’ of
approval, these delicious cooked-to-order burgers are made with love, sans

• Hot Hombre: grilled chicken breast, chilli black bean salsa, tasty cheese,
avocado, tomato, Spanish onion & crispy tortilla chip
• Goats Cheese & Hummus: grilled 100% grass fed lean lamb, Meredith
Dairy goats cheese, chermoula hummus & salad
• Perfect Pear: grilled chicken breast, poached pears, fig paste, avocado,
Spanish onion, rocket & shaved parmesan

“We’re committed to feeding the nation the Grill’d way so are shifting the focus
back towards what’s important; the great taste of our burgers,” says founder and
managing director of Grill’d Simon Crowe.

“From Tuesday, we’re calling on hungry guests to leave their cravats at the door and
enjoy our new burgers. We understand that celebrity chefs can flambé, julienne and
souse-vide, but so what? The new range is made by our team from only the freshest
ingredients. Put bluntly; they’re loved by the foodies, but made for you, and we
guarantee you won’t leave hungry!” adds Crowe.

So if you’re in need of a fast fresh feed, get into Grill’d to try one of the new
cooked-to-order burgers.

– ENDS –