The coronavirus pandemic has affected how restaurants and coffee shops do business. The restrictions on physical dining have forced many restaurants to close their doors. However, membership subscriptions have proven to be the lifeline they need to stay in business.
In 2020, lockdowns and restrictions meant many restaurants, coffee shops, and other food service businesses had to close their doors to customers and diners. This meant no income and the death of the restaurant. Stimulus checks and government interventions helped a little. The threat of layoffs and complete shutdown was real.
Many restaurants tried different strategies to keep afloat. For example, some restaurants converted to grocery stores, stocking up on essential supplies. Others provided online food ordering for delivery and takeout.
However, one of the most successful options was selling membership subscriptions. In 2020, Grubstreet covered a coffee shop, Panera, that was offering unlimited coffee for a subscription fee of $8.99 per month.
By selling membership subscriptions, Whiskey Bravo was able to generate a constant stream of income. Moreover, they were able to maintain and even grow their customer base. We’ll talk more about Whiskey Bravo and their winning strategy later in this article. First, let’s talk about membership subscriptions and how they work.
How membership subscriptions work
Membership subscription is a business model where a member pays a business or service provider to provide a specific service for a predetermined period, usually a month or a week.
This business model is not a new one. Cable TV, online stores, and, recently, streaming services like Netflix and Hulu run subscription services.
Since the pandemic hit, indoor dining has been restricted. This means membership subscriptions for restaurants and coffee shops is still a life-saving strategy to keep the business running. Restaurants and coffee shops can offer membership subscriptions to their customers. They pay a monthly or weekly subscription to receive food from their favorite restaurants. This is a solution that works for both parties.
How restaurant membership subscriptions benefit customers
For the customer, a membership subscription provides extra ease and lower cost. They get meals at lower prices as they are buying in bulk. Better yet, they don’t have to repeat the buying process multiple times. It’s almost magical in its simplicity. Customers get a monthly or weekly subscription and the restaurant delivers meals or drinks to their doorstep like clockwork. This means that they never run out of the product.
Most membership subscriptions also come with discounts. So customers can save money and keep the expenses within their budget. Food subscription boxes have used this model to bring a different approach to home cooking. They combine curated recipes and exotic ingredients.
Membership subscriptions from restaurants means that customers can have their favorite meal regularly without going out to get it. A big relief in these pandemic times.
How membership subscriptions benefit restaurant owners.
Membership subscriptions provide a predictable stream of income when indoor dining is restricted. With a membership platform like Raklet’s, restaurants can save customer cards on file, charge membership fees automatically and create a cashless experience.
Another added advantage is that they retain their customers. Once a customer orders from them, the likelihood of them ordering again is quite high, especially with a subscription. A major reason for this is that the process is automated. For one-time orders, there are usually more variables involved in the process. Those variables are multiplied if the customer has to repeat the process any time they want to order.
With a subscription, the restaurant can bundle a couple of best-selling meals together and eliminate such randomness. This makes the whole ordering process easier and is likely to keep the subscription running.
Membership subscriptions can help restaurants create stronger relationships with their customers. As customers interact with the restaurant regularly, they are more likely to share feedback that’ll help.
Integrating a social aspect to their membership subscription plan, restaurants offer their customers the ability to meet and connect with other members. In these physical isolation times, a digital community built around the restaurant can help retain existing customers and even attract new ones.
Check out our article on how membership platforms help build social interactions among members.
How Whiskey Bravo’s Implemented a membership subscription system for their business.
Whiskey Bravo’s Coastal Chop House is a high-end restaurant located at the Star Hill Country Club in North Carolina. They offer a wide variety of food in their breakfast and lunch menus. They also have halls that the public can rent for events.
Most customers had to stay at home during the pandemic, which meant no indoor dining or events. This was a huge challenge for Whiskey Bravo’s as their business model is centered around indoor dining and venues for private parties and events. This could have proven lethal for Whiskey Bravo’s, but they survived because they could build a social membership platform to connect with their customers. It meant that they could offer membership subscriptions, which kept revenue flowing, and their customers engaged.
Whiskey Bravo’s social membership subscription plan allows members to join their social network. The membership costs $588 yearly (or $49/month), and with a rapidly growing subscriber base, the restaurant is assured of a steady, predictable stream of income.
Whiskey Bravo’s Partners with Raklet to build a Membership Platform.
Whiskey Bravo’s choose Raklet as their partner to build their membership platform because it met all their criteria. They needed a platform that could allow members to register and pay their subscription fees while also allowing them to talk to each other within the network.
With a Whiskey Bravo’s social membership subscription, members can:
- Access the premium lounge at Whiskey Bravo and all related social events and activities.
- Create and maintain a personal account with the Whiskey Bravo’s Coastal Chophouse.
- Connect with other members of the network and send them messages.
- Set up automatic payments for their subscriptions.
- Browse through member-only job listings and many more.
Events are some of the biggest attractions on the Whiskey Bravo’s social membership portal. Members can see upcoming events on their profile. Those with subscriptions can then access the event with their digital membership cards.
Raklet’s membership management platform was perfect for Whiskey Bravo’s because it had all the functionalities they needed all in one place.
Find out how Raklet can help your restaurant get started with membership subscriptions.
Start membership subscriptions for your restaurant with Raklet.
Raklet’s membership management platform is perfect for your restaurant, coffee shop, and food service business. It comes custom-built with all the features you need to start and grow your membership community.
Take a look at what you can do with Raklet’s membership management platform.
Collect automatic subscriptions for your restaurant
If you’re looking to start membership subscriptions for your restaurant, Raklet’s the perfect partner you need. You can set up different membership tiers, and collect subscriptions automatically, so your customers never miss another payment.
You can also schedule emails to be sent when renewal dates are coming up or freeze membership in case of unsettled plans. All of these and more are done automatically.
Find out how to track membership dues here
Build your community with digital membership cards
Membership cards give members a sense of belonging in your community and also confirm their identity. With Raklet’s membership management platform, you can generate personalized membership cards, which can be used to sign in for events.
Membership subscription integration with POS systems for seamless customer experience
Raklet integrates easily with Square, Clover, and other POS systems, allowing you to collect and manage payments easily. You can also accept credit cards on your membership platform.
Allow members to connect with each other.
Connecting with people that love the same restaurant you do is a great feeling. You can now extend that feeling to your customers by allowing them to talk to each other. As subscribing members of your restaurant community, they can connect and have meaningful conversations with each other.
Raklet’s all-in-one solution for restaurants keeps revenue flowing in with membership subscriptions. You can get started with a free plan today to test out the features. Upgrade to a paid plan from $49/month. For non-profits, you enjoy a 50% discount.