When a group of philanthropic strangers band together in support of local restaurants, everyone comes out a winner. Restaurants gain visibility and a new clientele, while customers enjoy a fresh dining experience, and perhaps even discover a favorite new dining spot.

That’s the general idea behind Dish Mobs, a nationwide movement that encourages potential diners to converge simultaneously on selected independent eating establishments in order to boost business and visibility in a significant way. Their modus operandi is to highlight one restaurant in one city for one hour, but each event tends to make an impact that spills over and benefits other local businesses as well.

The Dish Mobs movement, sponsored by Restaurant.com, began in the fall of 2012 and was so successful that other events have been planned around the nation for 2013. Dish Mobs sprung from a larger campaign called “Cash Mobs” that has been around for a couple of years. A Cash Mob consists of a swarm of shoppers descending upon a specific area to support local shops and business with an infusion of transactions. But where Cash Mobs focus on local businesses, Dish Mobs specifically target local restaurants, driving potential customers towards independent restaurants rather than big chains.

Restaurant.com, America’s largest dining deals site, has helped fill nearly 5.5 million tables a year at local dining establishments thanks to its sales of discount coupons. In an effort to raise further awareness of local restaurants, the company partnered with Cleveland attorney Andrew Samtoy in 2012 to organize the Dish Mobs campaigns. Samtoy receives no payment for his organizational efforts and says he does it simply to “give back to businesses that support their communities.” Samtoy works closely with community members, organizations and bloggers in targeted cities to spread the word prior to each dining event.

Organizers hope that Dish Mobs will provide an added incentive for locals to discover a new restaurant in their community that they may have driven past a hundred times but never took the time to check out.


Leiber, Nick. “‘Dish Mobs’ Aim to Benefit Local Restaurants.” Feb. 11, 2013. Bloomberg.

News Release. “Restaurant.com to Host Dish Mobs Events Across the Country.” PR Newswire. Feb. 18, 2013.