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Insight of the Day: Want to feel special? Stores and restaurants with paid memberships are betting on it

Paid loyalty programs are becoming increasingly popular in the restaurant and retail industries as companies look for ways to make their most dependable customers feel valued. These programs require customers to pay an upfront fee in exchange for exclusive perks and benefits, such as free deliveries, priority access to new launches, and discounts on food and drinks.

For example, Chuck E. Cheese is offering tiered membership programs with different price points that provide members with discounts on meals, freebies like cotton candy, and play points for arcade games. Target is introducing a paid loyalty program called Target Circle 360, which offers free two-day shipping and free deliveries for members who pay an annual fee.

While these paid membership programs can be beneficial for businesses in terms of revenue and customer loyalty, some experts warn of potential drawbacks. Customers who cannot afford to opt into these programs may feel left out and diminished, and there is a risk of dissatisfaction among non-members who see others receiving more benefits.

Overall, paid membership programs offer a way for businesses to cater to their most loyal customers and provide them with a sense of exclusivity and special treatment. However, it's essential for companies to balance the benefits offered to members with the potential impact on non-members and ensure transparency and consistency in their program offerings.

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