GeekDinner organiser HOWTO
From The Original GeekDinner
This is a very early draft
A few easy steps..
- Subscribe to the
- Generally keep other people on the list informed/involved while the following steps happen
- Choose a Date and Time, 18:30 for 19:00 usually
- Choose a Restaurant
- Arrange a face-to-face meeting with restaurant management
- Announce event using ]
- Confirm wine sponsor
- Assign people to do MC work (welcome/introductions etc)
- Confirm speakers and talk topics
- Add a blog post to the main geekdinner blog with the relevant thank you notes
- PA / Mic / Sound system
- Projector and large screens
- Laptop with CDROM and USB
Scouting a Restaurant
When you meet with the restaurant manager(ess), you'll have to negotiate with them. Make them realise that it's worth their while to host us. That said, we do have some requirements of them:
We will have in the area of 70 people, and we'd like a set meal with fixed price of not more than R100 per person. In addition, we will be getting wine sponsorship, so we'd like them to waive the corkage fee on the wine. We'd obviously prefer it if they waived the fee altogether, but if they agreed to letting us have the first twenty bottles with no corkage fee, we'd still be very grateful.
We need a staging area, and if possible, a screen/projector and PA system. If they cannot provide these, we'll source them ourselves (Antoine van Gelder has generously offered G7's equipment for any future dinners).
Tables need to seat groups of 8 or 10 or thereabouts, and we pay for the meals per group, to make maths easier - the restaurant needs to be aware that this is how we are going to do things.
Finally, we need the entire area to ourselves - i.e. we want to book the room as a private event. This doesn't mean people can't walk through on their way to the other areas (like in the Wild Fig), it means we don't want some poor couple sitting in the corner trying to celebrate their fourth anniversary with a quiet dinner while Andy explains Peering again.
That's about it - restaurant manager(esse)s are probably going to put up a bit of a fight about prices, corkage, and numbers, so you need to explain that you're bringing a big bunch of techno-savvy first-adopters to their restaurant on a week night, a lot of whom run their own little media empires - this is excellent coverage for them, and the word of mouth advertising will be worth more than they can think.
- Number of people the venue can handle
- Make sure you can get the whole venue for a private function
- Payment model, pay-clusters or pay-tribes, tables of about 8
- Corkage fees for wine, number of bottles without corkage fees
- Extra drinks go on the bill
- RSVP deadline, restaurant can get realtime booking info from the wiki
- Menu, red meat, fish and veg usually
- A set menu works well, confirm options and pricing, R110 max
See Also: Venue Preferences (Should be merged)
- Always negotiate a minimum number of bottles of wine to be exempt of corkage fees
- Rule of thumb: bottles == seats / 2.5, so everybody gets a bit more than 1 glass
- For an 80 seat venue, 32 bottles
- For a 60 seat venue, 24 bottles
Intro blurb for Restaurant or wine sponsors
Profile People who attend the GeekDinners are passionate about technology and social media. They are smart, well educated, reasonably high income, well connected people. They are Open Source geeks, entrepreneurs and Bloggers. They are vocal about the things they believe in and are "opinion leaders" in the community. This is an ideal group of people to do "word of mouth" marketing for your restaurant or product.
Background The Geek Dinner movement is a meeting place for people who mostly interact online using blogs, mailing lists and forums. It is a social networking event.
Usual (contentious) points that need to be arranged with the Venue management
- We need the whole venue, or at least a whole area of the venue for our exclusive use on the evening (but it's on a week night)
- We need AV equipment so we may make a little bit of noise
- We can't pay any deposits, there is no central body that handles finances
- We need to be able to bring at least 20 bottles of wine without paying a corkage fee
- We need the venue at least 2 hours before the start time in order to set stuff up. Some venues still had people in "our" space until the last minute which makes setting up difficult.
- We need to be able to linger for a reasonable time afterwards. Some of the venues have felt like they expected us to leave the second they cleared our plates away.
- We pay the bills per table. It is impossibly/risky for us to commit to paying one big bill.
A very basic summary of the GeekDinner "business" model
In the GeekDinner model we can not pay for the venue (booking) or take any financial risk in doing the organising work. It's a volunteer effort... and we don't have a treasurer. We bring the party: about 80 passionate Geeks and Bloggers.
To offer a bit more structure and predictability to the venue, our guest list is always availible on our website (wiki) and we can give very accurate attendance numbers in the days running up to the event.. give or take 5%.
The venue makes money by providing the food and drink... and if they do a good job we say nice things about them as 'word of mouth marketing' or using blogging and our collective feed aggregation site (planet). We hope to get the venue a much better search engine page rank just by talking about the venue and linking to the venue's website.