Calgary restaurant

Influencer’s Instagram post credited with saving Calgary restaurant

Social media personalities and reality TV stars have great influence. That influence apparently stretches to helping to keep restaurants in business, judging by the story of one Calgary restaurant.

After trying everything from extending her hours and starting a loyalty rewards program to try to attract people to her restaurant, Janice Buckingham, the owner and head chef of Daydream in Calgary, posted on her plant-based restaurant’s Instagram on May 22 about its impending closure.

“We are facing closure within a month without at least a 30 per cent increase in revenue,” she wrote. “I’m afraid we haven’t reached enough people in enough time to get established and stable.”

After she hit publish on her post, CBC says that everything changed for the restaurant that opened in March.

Influencer and businesswoman Jillian Harris, former star of The Bachelorette and former host of HGTV’s Love It Or List It, shared Buckingham’s post on the stories section of her Instagram account and encouraged her 1.3 million followers to support the restaurant.

“I didn’t expect a miracle to happen, that’s for sure, but that is kind of what did happen,” said Buckingham.

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The restaurant, which opened in March, received an outpouring of support online and business skyrocketed.

“We increased our sales by around 300 per cent,” said Buckingham, who saw more than double the usual number of customers visit that week. 

The trained chef credits Harris, a former Albertan who now lives in Kelowna, B.C., as being a big part of this shift in revenue.

“There’s no question,” said Buckingham. “People really trust her as an influencer. She shares things from the heart as well.”

After Buckingham’s post, people started tagging Harris, who often promotes plant-based eating. “We chatted back and forth,” said Buckingham, “and she said she’s had some businesses closed and she knows how hard that is, and it just weighed on her and she wanted to do what she could.”