Why pay a bunch of checks at your favorite restaurants when you could just pay a single subscription fee, instead?
Restaurateur Matty O’Reilly debuted this week a novel subscription model of dining which would let subscribers eat as much as one entree per day at any of his restaurants for a monthly cost of $99, or a discounted prepaid annual cost of $1,000.
The subscription doesn’t include tax, beverages, or gratuity, and O’Reilly says that he hopes it will position his restaurants for the future of a changing business marketplace increasingly crowded with services like Grubhub and Bite Squad. “My hope is that it prevents some people from ordering from third-party platforms because that doesn’t seem to be working for many operators, nor providing an excellent experience for the end-user,” he says.
O’Reilly is offering a limited number of subscriptions based, he says, “on an algorithm consisting of total table capacity, total food sales volume, and average menu item price and cost.” He won’t disclose the number of subscriptions he’s offering, but if they sell out, he plans to introduce a waitlist for interested customers. Customers need to apply to enroll by the end of the 2019 calendar year.
And while customers might find a subscription restaurant service to be novel, O’Reilly contends that he’s just adapting his business to the current era.
“Recurring revenue models are actually quite common and mainstream today,” he says. “Netflix, every gym and yoga club, wine clubs, hundreds of businesses use this model.” He adds: “I modeled out what even a fraction of overall sales as memberships should do for cash flow during busy and slow times of the year, and it helps contribute to the overall health of a business.”
O’Reilly sees his subscription project as a way to evolve his entire industry, rather than let it be picked apart by opportunistic middleman services. He draws a parallel between his restaurant subscription and the opportunity other bricks and mortar businesses forfeited to the likes of Amazon and Alibaba.
“Sears could and should be Amazon, they were just afraid to try,” he says. “They had the product, the engaged audience, the network and the system, and simply just didn’t convert that to an online marketplace. I’m not going to sit back and watch people in my industry struggle in hopes that enough places close in order for them to succeed. I’m doing this for a community that needs something new and I’m willing to put in the work.”
“As far as a leap of faith, if nobody signs up I lose nothing,” he continues. “If we hit our threshold and we collect and utilize the opportunities to enhance guest engagement and conversion, we’ll have a product to bring to market for others.”