Restaurants like P.F. Chang’s are looking a lot like Netflix with their new business model

September 28, 2022, 7:31 PM UTC
A PF Chang's restaurant.
A PF Chang's restaurant.
PF Chang's

Restaurant chains are looking a bit like Netflix these days…

P.F. Chang’s, a U.S.-based Chinese food chain, announced Wednesday that it’s changing its customer loyalty program and adding a subscription-based tier. “Platinum” members, for a fee of $6.99/month, will get unlimited free delivery via the restaurant’s app or website and entry into a special “concierge” for members with questions and comments.

The new subscription program doesn’t replace the “Gold” member loyalty program, which is free of cost and has been around for seven years, but it is a tier higher in terms of perks and benefits.

Similar to streaming services like Hulu or Amazon Prime, the subscription model offers the promise of a consistent revenue stream for the restaurant through a fixed monthly fee. The company hopes to tempt frequent delivery customers—and keep them ordering from P.F. Chang’s. 

“We saw a shift in guest behavior when COVID-19 hit, and as we emerged from the height of the pandemic, we were looking for ways to deepen our relationship with guests,” P.F. Chang’s CEO Damola Adamolekun told Fortune. “Platinum has unique perks, provides tremendous value, and gives us a more personal touch with our most engaged guests.”

The restaurant has 5 million customers in its existing loyalty program all of whom will be automatically enrolled as Gold rewards members, P.F. Chang’s CEO Damola Adamolekun said in a statement to Fortune.

P.F. Chang’s isn’t alone in introducing subscriptions to its customer reward systems. The Covid-19 pandemic saw many food chains, including Pret A Manger and Taco Bell, take to the subscription model to bring in more customers.

Sweet Greens, the favorite of many salad-lovers, launched a subscription plan in January that costs $10 and offers up to 30% off on each purchase. Panera announced the “Unlimited Sip Club” in April—for a price of $10.99 a month, customers can get unlimited hot and cold beverages at the self-serving stations at any of its locations.

Aside from subscription programs, other chains have enhanced their loyalty programs over the past few years to incentivize repeat-customers.

In March, the International House of Pancake, also known as IHOP, announced their “pancake bank” wherein customers earn a “PanCoin” for every $5 spent. Ultimately, the points can be applied toward pancake purchases in the future. 

And last month, Subway debuted its Footlong Pass, which allowed existing reward program members to get a 50% discount on the chain’s famous footlong sandwich in September for a flat fee of $15. The company offered the pass to 10,000 members, and it sold out within 6 hours.

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