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Request for help:

I just got this email.  Does anyone have any suggestions for her?

Hi!

I work for an agriculture-oriented non-profit in Montana and I would love to try to organize a cash mob oriented around local foods!  We have some restaurants that do a good job of finding and providing local food and we think that a quick influx of cash might help other businesses to see that this is something that people from our town really support!  What we are thinking is that we would work with the restaurant to have them do a special two-course, local foods dinner (appetizer + entree or entree + dessert) for $12-15 (we have a lot of college students and so I think a lower price might help here).

I have a few questions though… Have you ever heard of cash mobs organized at a restaurant?  My concern is this: Particularly since it will be our first shot at cash-mobbing, I have no idea how many people would show up!  I would hate to tell the restaurant to prepare for 30 people and have 70 show up and have the restaurant run out of the local food special AND I would hate to tell the restaurant to prepare for 70 and then only have 15 people show up and have the food go bad.  So I guess I have two questions… one is just a basic, do you have any ideas for me?  The second is… have you ever heard of people RSVP’ing ahead of time or something like that so you have an idea of how many people to expect?  I can imagine various pros and cons of RSVP’ing, but… I’m not sure how else you could give a restaurant an adequate estimate…

Any ideas?

Thanks!!

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17 Comments

  1. AngelaBY says:

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with creating an event. Correct me if I’m wrong, Andrew, but Cash Mobs was created to support local business and inspire others to do so as well. If you think an RSVP may be necessary to make the best of your event, do it. It’s all in the spirit of conscious consumerism. :)

  2. suziwine says:

    Okay, the concept behind CASH MOB is to go to small business mob them then go to the nearest restaurant, bar, coffee shop and celebrate. So not only does the business get business the bar, restaurant gets business also. We are doing a small business in vacaville and after going to a small bar restaurant after

  3. Religish says:

    My initial thought would be to sell meal tickets in advance. At least until you get an assured number of participants, and then they can also buy at the door. Just a thought, this might help the restaurant at least make enough to cover their costs.

  4. Yes, just make an invite on Facebook like a regular cash mob. We did it… and five people showed up. But it was great anyway. For our regular cash mobs we always go to a restaurant for the after mob and I don’t tell the restaurant because we usually don’t get very many people to go. But, at the last one we did get a big crowd to go. And it was still fine. The important thing is to JUST DO IT!!!!! You will have no idea how many people will really show up so just roll with it!

  5. Stu Kirsch says:

    Dear Montana,
    I have been to a number of mobs at restaurants here in Southeastern Massachusetts and all have worked well (except when the owner forgot to tell her manager the restaurant was being mobbed.)
    There was no set hour for the mobs, so people could stop in anytime (or say from 3-8) to mob. In this case, “mob” is an unfortunate word since it is not a mob in that sense. In all cases, there seemed to be somewhere between 15-40 mobbers during the day.
    I personally see no problem with a mob RSVP. setting the number of meals available makes each one more precious too, so to say “we only have 50 meals for mobbers, make your reservations fast” makes it more exciting all the more special to be part of the mob.
    I also think there are different modes of mobbing, based on geography, demography, and culture. If you think it can work, and it still sorta fits the framework of Cash Mobs–and still fulfills the mission of supporting local business–then go for it.
    Good luck!
    Stu K.

  6. Andrew Samtoy says:

    From my friend Amy:

    I’m guessing she’s either in Bozeman (my hometown) or Missoula. In either case, the various populations of those two cities would probably be inclined to comply with the rvsp suggestion. They could also maybe set a ceiling on the number of people based on the particular situation of the restaurant and give rain checks if the restaurant ran out.

  7. Lots of great suggestions above! We deviated last month from our usual ‘mob a business and then socialize at a restaurant/coffee bar’ and just mobbed a restaurant. I set a specific time frame of 4 hours and announced the name of the restaurant the day before. I was present the entire time, greeted people as they entered and handed out Lompoc Cash Mob buttons for the mobsters to wear. While it didn’t have the same energy as our previous mobs when everyone was together it was still a success and I was able to win some converts over that had just come in for dinner not knowing about the mob. We had 70+ mobsters come out for the event, the restaurant had their biggest day ever and they have been in business for 30+ years. Regardless of the ‘rules’ anytime a local business can have positive exposure in the community it is a good thing. I enjoy reading how others are supporting their communities and seeing how different ideas can be used to mob different types of businesses. Good luck to everyone!

  8. Marlon says:

    As a former restaurant owner, I would favor the idea of the RSVP after the FB event has been created. I like the focus on farmers!

  9. I would also recommend taking advance orders by circulating the menu with your mobbers. This will give the restaurant owner an idea of what they will need to have on hand to serve the crowd. Good luck!

  10. I just had a “mob” on the opening day of the Local Farmers Market on the 5th of this month. I don’t know who was there for the mob or who was there because of the opening day, but everyone had fun anyway. My next one will be at the Local festivals of Sunfest and OK Mozart next month.

    I had someone ask me what I can do if they have a home based business and I said we might try have a “mob” for them at a local restaurant. He was impressed and he said ‘Let me think about it and get back with you’.

    Just a FYI, I had magnets created for my car and it is really making heads turn. I had one of the local business owners make the suggestion and I decided it was a very good idea.

  11. Jana Nicol says:

    We did a cash mob at an art gallery and a restaurant on March 23rd. I work for a non profit and the art gallery and restaurant were supposed to give us a percentage of their sales from that hour. Notice the word “supposed” to because we never saw a single penny. It’s very disappointing because the owner of the art gallery was (and I emphasize WAS) a friend of mine. She made me look bad to my boss and co-workers. We got coverage on 2 TV stations and the local paper too. So be very careful if you are a non profit and set up this kind of deal with a store or restaurant.

  12. GB says:

    I tried to set up a Farmers Market CM with local chef’s preparing a “farm to table” meal from the product purchased. Unfortunately logistics prroved too daunting and the chefs decided there were too many variable working against us (and these are seasoned chefs, mind you) so we are having our first farmers market cash mob Saturday June 2 at the Famers Market at the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy. We have chefs who will walk the market with participants to talk product and do demonstrations. We’ll see how it goes.

  13. Sandhya Gupta says:

    I organized a cash mob at a restaurant in Cleveland back in January. We told the restaurant ahead of time, and did the best we could in terms of numbers (by asking people to RSVP on Facebook or to me individually via email). Basically we told the restaurant it could be anywhere from about 25 to 75. It ended up being 35. People trickled in throughout the evening, so it did not overwhelm the restaurant. The point is that they were prepared.
    Hope that helps,
    Sandhya

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