Jeff Smith 4 p.m., Feb. 26
MOGL cares for La Mirage
Locally-run loyalty program establishes a fundraising drive to help an ailing restaurant owner.
Yesterday, I (and all the other MOGL subscribers) got an email with the subject, “request to help a restaurant owner in need.” I subscribe to the loyalty program, which rewards customers at restaurants with cash back, as much for the data feed it provides as for the rewards. It’s just another way for me to keep an eye on what’s happening in the local restaurant scene. This email was different, however. It told a sad tale of how the owners of La Mirage restaurant, Tuba and Sam, are in dire straits following Tuba’s diagnosis with leukemia and her insurance company’s decision to revoke her coverage. It’s a short email, and it gets right to the point:
“The bottom line is Tuba and her family are in need of our help; they can't do this alone. That's where we come in. The MOGL family is over 100,000 strong. If we all pitch in just a little, even just $5, we can make a big difference in Sam and Tuba's lives.”
At the bottom of the email, I was given a link to a donation page run by Stay Classy, a local company that manages fundraising campaigns for non-profit groups. I called them up and found out that they’re running the program pro bono, waiving their usual fee, which is kind of them. The donation page is going to be up and running throughout February.
According to MOGL’s representative, “this isn’t something MOGL usually does, or that we ever planned to get involved with, but it just snowballed and happened overnight.” After only 24 hours, the campaign has raised north of $5,000. “It’s really got us thinking about what this company is about,” she added.
The skeptic in me wants to say, ‘we have county- and state-funded emergency health care systems in place for just this kind of scenario!’ But I’m overcome by the sense of neighborliness on display here and I can’t shake the idea that this is good business practice, by which I don’t mean smart business practice, I mean “good” as in “good will to all.”
Try as I might, I’m hard pressed to find a negative. Much like my decision of four months ago regarding Forkly, I’m optimistic about this trend in business. As far as I know, MOGL hasn’t gone around trying to strongarm business in a Yelp-like fashion. They’ve aggressively sold themselves, but that’s really not the same thing. My impression is that these next-generation tech companies aren’t in the business of gouging the restaurant community from without. They seem to see themselves as a part of the community, recognizing that there can be no loyalty programs and social dining apps without restaurants.
This bears further investigation, but I give it my tentative stamp of approval for now.
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