Restaurant Subscription Programs: What Customers Want

Feb 27, 2023

We’ve all heard of subscriptions; if you’re like most people, you subscribe to a few. There are streaming, workout, and even pet toy subscriptions… but have you heard of restaurant subscriptions?

Many restaurants now offer subscription services to keep their customers returning. It is a particular trend among chain restaurants like P.F. Chang’s and Panera Bread.

But restaurants want to ensure their customers think the subscriptions have value. So, operators need to tailor their subscriptions to the wants of their guests.

Regarding subscription services, customers want free food and special perks, delivery, and convenience

Free Food, Discounts, & Special Perks

Of course, the number one desire for customers is to receive more food for less. Many restaurants have seen success by offering exclusive discounts or freebies to their subscription members.


restaurant subscription

Panera Bread

Panera Bread offers an annual membership to its “Unlimited Sip Club.” The club allows subscribers to get free coffee every day. (Consider adding the cost/month as you did for PF Chang’s and others below)

Customers who subscribe to the subscription visit the chain eight times more monthly than regular customers.

According to Panera’s Chief Brand and Concept Officer, a quarter of all transactions now come from “Unlimited Sip Club” members.


P.F. Chang’s

P.F. Chang’s also offers a membership that is $6.99 a month. Members get special perks, like points for every dollar spent that they can exchange for free food.

The chain asked its customers what they wanted from a subscription service, and they stated that they wanted to earn points faster. Today, loyalty members get 10 points for every $1 they spend, and platinum members get 15 points for every $1. They can redeem 2,000 points for $15 to spend at the restaurant.

P.F. Chang’s members also receive priority on the restaurant’s waitlist.


Even with the pandemic winding down, many customers prefer to stay at home. Restaurants that offer delivery to do better than restaurants that don’t.

In addition to receiving free drinks, Panera Bread subscribers get free delivery when ordering online.

Likewise, P.F. Chang members receive unlimited free delivery with their subscriptions.


Sweetgreen is a health-focused chain based in Los Angeles. They have over 180 locations, and last year, they launched their “Sweetgreen” subscription program.

Loyalty members pay $10 monthly and receive a $3 credit per daily purchase.

With the number of locations this chain has, it’s easier than ever for loyalty members to stop by for a meal. Plus, healthy food is expensive. Receiving $3 a day towards a healthy meal can go a long way for someone trying to change their eating habits.

Gravitas is a Michelin-star restaurant in Washington. They offer customers a three-course takeout meal for two people for $130 a month. This offering is ideal for customers interested in enjoying premium cuisine in the comfort of their homes.


Rocket Money, a personal finance app, says that the average American had 4.2 subscriptions in 2019. In 2022, that number was up to 6.7. People are turning toward subscriptions more and more for added convenience.

More companies will likely turn to restaurant subscriptions to appeal to and retain their customers. But, if customers are going to pay for subscriptions, they want more convenience, better delivery, and more free food.