Protesters had plotted to have the duck liver pate removed from the menu but only succeeded in boosting sales when diners objected to their aims and underhand tactics.
They staged the protest outside an English village pub called the Bridge Inn at Calver, Derbyshire, on Easter Sunday.
But when the group resorted to making abusive phone calls and posting fake one-star reviews online it was met with a furious backlash that lead to the pub restaurant doing a roaring trade – especially in foie gras.
It is the second time in recent months activists have suffered a bad reaction to their clumsy protest methods after seal meat sales also went through the roof at a restaurant which was targeted with bogus online reviews.
David and Samantha McHattie, who run the Bridge Inn, said they would never be cowed by the protestors and have refused to remove foie gras from the menu despite hearing that protesters intend to return in May.
Asked whether the campaign had affected their business, Samantha, 35, said:
“Not in the way they hoped.
“There are more people coming. We had a gentleman from Caversham in Berkshire who travelled up just to give his support and give us a bottle of wine.
“Sales of foie gras have gone up over ten times.
“It has been great for business but it’s still taking an emotional toll.”
The couple said that people who lived nearby but who had never dined at the pub were now visiting to show their support after reading about the online abuse, which led to the pub taking down its Facebook page.
David, 51, said the gathering of 40 protesters was “civilised” but that he was particularly angry about a Facebook post by a Lisa Michelle Ball, an activist, who said the aim of the protest was to put his pub out of business.
It read: “keep protestin [sic] and they go out of business”.
“The reason we’ve stood up to them is that if they’re not doing it to us, they’d be doing it to someone else. It’s online bullying.”
Corinne Longman, 32, who is understood to have organised the protest, claiming the methods used to make the pate are cruel, declined to comment because she said has received online abuse.
The activist, who describes herself on Facebook as a “compassionate vegan dog-grooming lady” is thought to be part of East Midlands Animal Rights Coalition.
In January a cyber attack on the Vancouver restaurant called Edible Canada at the Market also backfired on activists.
They also posted bad reviews online and demonstrated outside the restaurant only to find their efforts made the restaurant even more popular.
It sold more than 350 seal loin dishes in a week making the dish the most popular item on the menu.
Restaurant CEO Eric Pateman said:
“Sea lion is one of the most sustainable seafoods in the country.
“In the first weekend, it was so popular we actually ran out of seal loin in three days!”
He said he would never back down to the protestors and seal meat will stay on the menu in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations.