Coffee Shop Subscriptions: Best Examples & How to Get Started

Bottomless coffee… 

More frequent orders…

Free drinks and treats…  

Recurring, reliable revenue… 

Coffee shop subscriptions sound pretty good, don’t they? 

Whether you’re a caffeine-drinking customer looking for unlimited cuppas or a committed coffee shop owner looking to diversify, coffee shop subscriptions really can do it all. 

But, before we get too deep into the benefits, we should probably answer the most important question, first: 

What even is a coffee shop subscription? 


What Is a Coffee Shop Subscription? 

When you say “coffee shop subscription,” most people likely think of at-home coffee delivery. That’s because, traditionally, coffee subscription models have been less about the brew and more about the beans. 

For the past decade or so, caffeine lovers have paid subscription companies like Bean Box and Atlas Coffee Club to deliver freshly roasted coffee beans – or grounds! – straight to their front doors. While this type of delivery model is still popular among coffee drinkers, industry shifts over the past five years have transformed what coffee shop subscription means today.  

In our novel subscription model blog, we shared that restaurant subscription growth peaked in April 2020, fueled primarily by pandemic-induced necessity. Coffee shops joined the great subscription shift around the same time with brands like Pret a Manger and Panera taking coffee shop subscriptions from convenient, at-home delivery to exclusive, in-house experience. 

The nice thing about this new, in-house approach to coffee shop subscriptions is that the service can look like anything. From bottomless coffee to free bakery items, a good coffee shop subscription is whatever the business wants it to be! 

Coffee shop customer paying with her coffee subscription

(P.S. If you want to learn more about the restaurant industry’s “great subscription shift,” then this blog is for you!) 


Benefits of Coffee Shop Subscriptions: Customers

At this point, coffee shop subscriptions sound great in theory. But do customers actually want coffee shop subscriptions? According to the last few years of research, surveys say “yes!

The Square x SCA Coffee Report shared that U.S. coffee shop subscription sales increased by 109% from February to April 2020, but demand has remained high even in a post-pandemic world. According to the World Coffee Portal’s Project Café USA 2023 Report, one-third of customers said they’d prefer a coffee subscription over paying per beverage during their visits. 

Despite satisfying an obvious demand, coffee shop subscriptions can offer so much more to your customers; cost savings, convenience, personalization, and even community building. Food and coffee writer Garrett Oden says the strongest subscriptions operate more like memberships, “[helping] customers feel like they belong… to a group of like-minded people.” 


Benefits of Coffee Shop Subscriptions: Owners

So, coffee shop subscriptions offer tons of benefits for your customers… but what about you? 

Don’t worry — there are ample benefits for coffee shop and café owners, too! 

Because coffee shop subscriptions are billed on the same monthly or weekly schedule, they’re a great option for adding a predictable revenue stream to your operation. As time goes on, those recurring subscriptions — and the data you get from them —  make it easier to predict inventory needs, reduce waste, and optimize staffing, too. 

Alongside predictability and more seamless operations, coffee shop subscriptions can also lead to higher order values and more frequent visits. 

When asked about Blank Street Coffee’s subscription program — which we’ll talk more about later — co-founder Vinay Menda said it’s at least doubled the number of weekly visits. “[Customers] would normally come to us… maybe two or three times a week,” he said. “But with the [subscription] program they’re coming six times a week.”


Best Examples of Coffee Shop Subscriptions

While we could talk about the benefits of coffee shop subscriptions all day long… it might be more fun to show you, instead! Here are three best-in-class businesses that show just how effective a coffee shop subscription can be. 

1 — Pret a Manger

The Subscription Details

  • Club Pret (formerly Pret Coffee Subscription) — ~40 USD/month 
  • Includes:
    • Up to 5 drinks a day, any size
    • 20% off everything in the shop
    • 20% off through Pret Pick Up
    • Pret Perks stars for free rewards
    • Exclusive discounts and promotions

Club Pret subscription

Club Pret’s Subscription Success

In 2020, Pret a Manger launched the first iteration of their coffee shop subscription in stores across the UK. The aptly named Pret Coffee Subscription was a direct response to recoup pandemic-related losses; Pret sales dropped 60% YOY with 28 stores closing in London alone

And, just one year later, the plan seemed to be working. 

 In 2021, Pret Coffee Subscription expanded to the U.S. market, launching in both New York and Washington. This overseas expansion led Pret’s subscription to some incredible wins: 1.25 million weekly redemptions, 14x as many transactions from subscribers as non-subscribers, and 11% YOY growth. 

But, despite those wins… the Pret team wasn’t done, yet. 

In April 2023, Pret a Manger announced a rebranded and expanded Pret Coffee Subscription — Club Pret. This new-and-improved subscription featured the signature five-drink perk alongside newly introduced rewards like 20% discounts and “Pret Perks.”

Pano Christou, CEO of Pret a Manger, said that their new subscription service is Pret’s way to “give back” to their community. And, considering that Pret’s transactions increased by 36% within just one month of Club Pret launching… Christou’s “give back” was a smashing success. 

2 — Panera Bread

The Subscription Details

  • Unlimited Sip Club — 14.99 USD/month 
  • Includes: 
    • Unlimited iced & hot coffee
    • Unlimited iced & hot teas
    • Unlimited fountain drinks 
    • Unlimited Charged sips
    • Unlimited $0 delivery fee
    • “Sip Club Saturday” deals
    • An extra treat on your birthday week 

Panera Bread's Unlimited Sip Club subscription

Unlimited Sip Club’s Subscription Success 

Panera Bread has always been a massive proponent of rewarding customer loyalty. Considered “one of the earliest” loyalty programs in the industry, MyPanera has had massive success since its inception in 2010, with 48 million active members to date.

Equipped with tangible proof that loyalty programs worked well for Panera customers, the brand decided to take loyalty to the next level with a brand-new service. In 2022, Panera launched the Unlimited Sip Club, a monthly subscription offering unlimited access to coffee, tea, and other drinks, as well as free delivery and birthday treats. 

Because of Panera’s previous success with loyalty programs, the brand’s executive team anticipated a crossover between MyPanera members and Unlimited Sip Club members. What they didn’t expect, though, was the avalanche of totally new customers the Unlimited Sip Club was about to attract. 

“We expected our most loyal and frequent MyPanera members to join the program, but what’s really been interesting is the number of [subscribers]… that are new to Panera,” said Chief Brand and Concept Officer, Eduardo Luz. “Since the launch of Unlimited Sip Club, more than half of its members are new to our MyPanera loyalty program in general.

3 — Blank Street Coffee

The Subscription Details

  • Blank Street Regulars — ~71 USD/month
    • Free hot or iced drinks, any size (up to 14/week)
    • Free alternative milk(s)
    • Free coffee flavors
    • 20% off pastries
    • 20% off coffee beans
    • 20% off merch

Black Street Coffee's subscription

Blank Street Regulars’ Subscription Success 

Blank Street Coffee may be the new kid on the subscription block… but they’re absolutely crushing it, anyway. 

The New York City coffee chain started its subscription in the US less than a year ago, launching Blank Street Regulars in September 2023. By the time January 2024 rolled around, Blank Street Coffee had already attracted ~5,000 customers to the Regulars program. 

(And yes, your math is correct — that’s 5,000 subscribers in only four months!) 

Considering the incredibly strong start Blank Street Regulars has had, the brand is understandably confident in its continued growth. The co-founders estimate that ~40% of customers will eventually become Regulars, an impressive percentage considering they serve ~300,000 customers annually in the UK alone. 

Blank Street Coffee’s recent success has also piqued the interest of investors. Since starting fundraising efforts in March 2023, the chain has secured ~$100M in funding to support the growth of its coffee shop subscription. 

So, how do you join the super successful Blank Street Regular program? 

Well, you’ll need to put your patient pants on, first. There’s currently a waitlist to join the coffee shop’s subscription program… and there are over 4,000 people in line! 


Coffee Shop Subscriptions with Craver

If all this talk about drinks and discounts has you ready to hop on the subscription train, then you’re in luck — the Craver Membership feature has officially arrived! 

Our Membership feature allows you to customize everything about your subscription, crafting your offer in a way that works for you and your customers. 

Craver's subscription

Here’s what you can expect with Craver’s Membership feature: 

  • Benefits Beyond Bucks: With Craver, you can expand your benefits beyond monetary discounts, offering unique, exclusive experiences while building a more meaningful (and less transactional) relationship with your community.
  • Personalized Perks: Whether your customers love consistent savings or they prefer one-off free items, Craver lets you personalize your membership perks. After all, you know your customers better than anyone else! 
  • Custom Constraints: Want to put a limit on “unlimited,” or switch to monthly membership fees? No problem! Craver lets you customize your membership constraints to make sure it works for you, too.  

Curious what a Craver Membership could look like for your coffee shop or café? 

We were hoping you’d ask! Book your free demo and we’d be happy to show you.