Monday, a Margarita pizza, Tuesday a Regina, Wednesday, here, let’s change and have some pasta “go bolognese”… The list could go on like this until Sunday, then start again on Monday. The subscription offer launched by the restaurant chain Del Arte offers seven different dishes. The principle ? Pay a monthly package of €34.99 and then be able, at no additional cost, to order one of these dishes once a day, and this every day of the month.
Important clarification: the offer only concerns consumption at the table, and not take-out. Thus, the brand probably hopes that the subscriber will order additional products (drink, starter, dessert) since only the dish of the selection is included in the subscription. Or that the customer will come accompanied.
If this offer appeals, it is more because of the sector that offers it than by the scale of the device. Because only 13 restaurants in the chain (out of about 200) have included it on their menu. But according to Bernard Boutboul, president of the Gira consulting firm and specialist in catering, this is the first time in France that the sector of activity has embarked on what is called the subscription economy, in any case. in table service.
“Excellent revenue predictability”
“The fast food chain Prêt à manger already offers a subscription which, for €25 per month, allows you to order five hot drinks a day”, specifies Bernard Boutboul. This can become profitable if the consumer sometimes buys a pastry or a sandwich at the same time. He is more skeptical about the possible profitability of subscribing to dishes. “If someone really comes to drink even three times a week and with a free carafe of water, Del Arte will be the loser”he says, also considering that we are rarely loyal to a particular restaurant brand.
Director of the Consumer Observatory of the UFC-Que Choisir consumer association, Grégory Caret believes that this attempt may be intended to compensate for the drop in attendance observed since the Covid. “Part of the clientele is still missing at the table and teleworking risks perpetuating the shortfall, he said. In addition, there are today added problems of purchasing power in the population. »
For a growing number of companies, the subscription economy is in any case becoming a major axis of economic development. “Subscription sales or services have a huge advantage: they allow excellent revenue predictability, recalls Rodolphe Bonnasse, CEO of Aristid Retail Technology and trade specialist. In addition, the value of a company depends very much on the regularity of its activity. »
Formerly reserved for the press and energy and telecommunications suppliers, subscriptions have spread to many areas: cinemas, dog food, transport, car services, repairs of household appliances, ink cartridges, coffee or even financial services… “As well as supermarket chains that offer discounts if you are a subscriber, fruit and vegetable producers, video games or even stationery supplies”, adds Grégory Caret, who also mentions sports halls or online music.
“A desire to simplify life”
Consumers themselves seem ready to accept these offers. “We see the emergence of this desire to simplify life, by paying for the use of an object or service and not for its ownership”, emphasizes Rodolphe Bonnasse. Be careful, however, of the repercussions on the household budget. “Subscriptions make it look cheap. But the note can be important at the end of the day”, warns Grégory Caret.
According to him, it is often difficult to find packages that are well suited to our real needs. “Furthermore, consumers don’t always realize how much these subscriptions weigh on their purchasing power, or even how many subscriptions they subscribe to. » In 2019, the Consumption Observatory of the consumer association UFC-Que Choisir questioned a representative sample of French people on the subject: on average, they estimated that they had three subscriptions excluding energy for a cost of €100 per month; verifications made, they found themselves holders of six subscriptions on average, for some 160 €.
Ten subscriptions on average per French person
10. This is the average number of subscriptions that the French estimate to accumulate each month in their budget according to the Ipsos study for Papernest (1) dating from September 2021. But 35% of them do not know how much.
40% of French people say they have not canceled subscriptions that they no longer or barely used, for lack of time, laziness, administrative phobia, forgetting of their existence, or even an overly complicated termination process.
only 27% say they regularly check in on their subscriptions and the associated budget.