AUSTIN (KXAN) — Restaurants in the Austin area are joining a national trend of offering customers a monthly food subscription as a way of creating a steady flow of revenue and growing their business.
People are already used to paying for a subscription in some form. The average American carried 6.7 subscriptions in 2022, according to Rocket Money, a personal finance app.
Abby Jane Bakeshop, a bakery in Dripping Springs, started operating at the beginning of 2021 in the midst of the pandemic, a time consisting of curbside deliveries and zero dine-in eating options. After six months, the shop started a monthly subscription service for its customers, and after some growing pains, the owner said the program has proven successful.
“The idea of being able to take our product outside of this footprint obviously was very appealing,” Abby Love, the bakeshop’s owner, said.
Love said her team had to learn what products would work the best for a subscription format. The current program allows customers to choose from different styles of bread boxes that vary in price and product. For example, for $50, the Big Country Lovers subscription gets you six loaves of bread a month delivered to your door.
From its inception, Love said the program was able to easily attract customers. Especially customers who lived in Austin and did not want to make the drive out to the lone storefront in Dripping Springs.
“As soon as we offer an opportunity for people to get to have our product in the Austin area without having to drive out here, we had a lot of takers,” Love explained.
The subscription program will fluctuate every month, but Love said on average it accounts for five percent of her monthly revenue. That is money Love does not have to worry about in her day-to-day operations.
“When we have slow retail days, in terms of walk-in customers, but somehow we’ve put out hundreds of pieces of food that are going into boxes that are going to subscribers, it’s kind of a weight off,” Love explained.
Rick Camac, the executive director of Industry Relations at the Institute of Culinary Education, expects many more restaurants to experiment with their own monthly subscriptions in the future. Camac said customers have already grown accustomed to subscriptions and the revenue predictability will help restaurants with cash flow.