We’ve come a long way since the days when subscriptions covered only magazines and newspapers. From entertainment and fashion to consumer goods and meal kits, subscriptions have been steadily gaining traction in numerous industries for several years — and that includes restaurants and c-stores.
The model can be used in different ways. One common example involves asking customers to pay upfront for services or meals redeemed later. For instance, Olive Garden’s Never Ending Pasta Pass is paid in advance, and then customers redeem their “pass” at every visit.
But this is far from the only model available. The flexibility of subscriptions allows you to tailor your options based on your store or restaurant’s needs, then adapt your subscription quickly to take advantage of factors like seasonal preferences, customer interest, or promotion of higher-priced meals, services, or products.
Four to Consider
Within the breadth of subscription types, there are four main models that can form the basis of a program: […]
Panera Bread recently became the latest big-name restaurant brand to enter one of the hottest segments of the loyalty market: subscriptions. We’re proud to be part of that launch, as the program is built on our loyalty platform.
At $8.99 per month, the MyPanera Coffee subscription gives customers unlimited coffee or hot tea for the price of about four cups of coffee. This program exemplifies how smart, forward-thinking brands are embracing subscription models.
Subscription programs tend to operate in one of these three ways:
- Recurring payments – As with the Panera program, subscribers pay for a given time period. Cancellation can occur at any time.
- Lump-sum payment with time-bound usage – The industry standard is Olive Garden’s Never Ending Pasta Pass, which allows unlimited meals for nine weeks. Limiting the number of passes sold provides customers with a sense of exclusivity.
- Lump-sum payment with limited times or items – An example is the Grill Pass offered by HuHot Mongolian Grill. Last summer, loyalty members could spend $50, $100, or $200 to buy 5, 11, or 25 meals.