Gusto launches £65 subscription-based membership programme in casual dining first

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Gusto launches £65 subscription-based membership programme

Related tags Gusto Italian cuisine R200 Matt Snell

Largely Northern-based Italian group Gusto has become the UK’s first casual dining brand to launch a subscription-based membership programme that requires guests to pay upfront to access discounts and other benefits.

For £65 per year or £6 monthly, Platinum Club members receive 40% off food Sunday to Thursday at the brand’s six ‘neighbourhood’ restaurants which are primarily in its North West heartland (Gusto’s eight city centre locations are excluded). 

Other perks include a free bottle of Prosecco on sign up and invites to menu launches. 

Platinum Club members also receive the same benefits as those signed up to Gusto’s free Gold Club, including 5% cashback, a free round of drinks on their birthday and access to Black Friday discounts. 

Earlier this year, Restaurant​ predicted that larger scale operators would look to emulate aspects of Pret A Manger’s disruptive subscription-based membership programme,​ which sees customers pay a monthly fee in return for perks including free hot drinks and a 20% discount across the board.

Gusto’s Platinum Club launched at the beginning of this month and received over 1,000 sign ups in its first week alone. 

Speaking at Restaurant’s R200 Conference in Manchester yesterday (19 March), Gusto CEO Matt Snell said that he was confident that the benefits of the scheme outweighed any cons. 

“There are two sides to the loyalty coin: what guests want and what businesses want. The question is, how do you make it work from both sides?” 

“We have spent a lot of time trying to understand loyalty. Our feedback from guests was that they didn’t want to work hard to access having a special relationship with us. So the solution was to ask our customers to pay something up front to get great benefits, including heavily-discounted food at certain locations at certain times.” 

Gusto Italian was founded in 2005 by Jeremy Roberts and the late Tim Bacon, from Living Ventures Group. In 2014, Gusto gained private equity backing from Palatine.

It currently operates a total of 14 sites. The majority are in the North but Gusto also operates restaurants in Oxford, Birmingham, Nottingham and Edinburgh. 

For more information and to register your interest in attending the free event, click here.

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