Casual dining restaurants are joining the paid subscription game — starting with P.F. Chang’s
First it was streaming services, then it was tacos and now the newest subscription you might be paying for: Chinese food.
For $6.99 per month, members of the chain’s Platinum Rewards program will earn 15 points for each dollar spent, redeemable for a $15 credit once 2,000 points are accumulated. Platinum members are also eligible for unlimited free delivery and access to priority reservations, among other perks.
The chain’s existing loyalty program isn’t going away: The free tier will be renamed Gold and offer fewer benefits, including earning only 10 points per dollar spent.
The aim of the program is to create “added value for repeat customers,” P.F. Chang’s explained in a press release. “As the first polished-casual restaurant chain to launch this kind of loyalty program, we are proud to drive innovation in the industry while adding even more value for our guests,” CEO Damola Adamolekun said in the release.
Loyalty programs have been proven to increase customer frequency, boost revenue with a locked-in fee and help give restaurant owners information about ordering habits that helps target diners with customized deals.
Taco Bell has found success with its $10 per month Taco Lover’s Pass program that gives customers one free taco every day.
Others include Sweetgreen, which experimented with a paid discount pass in January. Last month, Subway launched a $15 pass that gave customers a 50% discount on its footlong subs that sold out in just 6 hours. Panera currently sells a beverage subscription program for $10.99 per month.
For casual, sit-down restaurants, building loyalty is even more important since diners typically only visit two to three times per year and “increasing that even by just one visit can be very meaningful to revenue,” according to Gregory Francfort, a restaurant analyst at Guggenheim.
“Loyalty programs give the customer key perks while at the same time help the brands figure out how their customer behaves to be able to better market their offerings to those consumers,” Francfort told CNN Business. The biggest perk to P.F. Changs’ program, in his opinion, is the free delivery since the chain aiming to growing that part of its business.
P.F. Chang’s is a privately held company with about 200 locations in the United States.