Albany State University business and marketing students place orders at Our Daily Bread downtown as a part of a "Cash Mob" Tuesday.
ALBANY, Ga. — Albany State University students learned a valuable lesson Tuesday. Organized buying strategies are a powerful thing.
Between 75 and 100 students, professors and staff from ASU’s School of Business came across the river Tuesday to participate in a “cash mob” — a guerrilla marketing technique aimed at jolting economic prosperity for struggling businesses or areas — at Our Daily Bread in downtown Albany.
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Assistant Business Professor Maurice Elliard said the strategy gives his students an opportunity to help out while still learning about the nature of business.
“We were aware that the downtown business district was having challenges; we had heard about all of the restaurants closing, so that inspired us to do something to see if we could make a difference,” Elliard said. “We had a meeting and I shared the idea with our marketing students, and they immediately embraced it and said ‘yea, lets get involved, let’s see if we can do something to bring about some change.’”
At noon Tuesday, Washington Street was beset with ASU students and faculty who strolled into Mendy and Jason Warren’s restaurant hoping to bring change.
It was a welcome visit but also a challenging one as Jason Warren and his small band of cooks and wait staff struggled to get the food prepared and out in a timely manner.
“It was a blessing,” Jason Warren said after the rush ended around 2 p.m. “We were up to our necks in orders there for a while, but this is just such a great thing. This was by far our biggest lunch.”
Warren said he was given notice that the group was coming and was able to prepare as best he could, but still the flow of students was almost more than the restaurant could handle.
“We planned on having 150, and I think we topped that,” Warren said. “I think we ended up between 150 and 200.”
The goal for the students was to bring in 100 students who’d spend about $10 each. While the immediate impact is nice, Elliard says that the potential for a more long-term impact is there as well.
“What we’re hoping for is that, not only do we want to make an impact today, but we hope that some of the people who are here for the first time will become loyal customers,” Elliard said.
The ASU group isn’t the first to employ the cash mob concept downtown, but it is by far the largest. Elliard hopes that others will organize events to support local businesses, maybe even using his students and colleagues as an example.
“We also hope that other groups will see what we’re doing and others will take the initiative to form additional flash mobs,” Elliard said.
The unexpected surge in business will help Warren purchase a costly point-of-sale system to help increase work flow and improve customer service.