Joining a fast-growing trend of subscriptions for nearly anything you can think of, Burger King has started selling daily coffee subscriptions. The fast-food giant is offering one small cup of coffee every single day for just $5 per month. Compare that to the regular price of $1 per cup, and you've got yourself a pretty good deal -- at least if you go to Burger King often enough. Burger King obviously expects that you'll get more than just the coffee. Maybe you'll pick up a Croissan' wich®, a biscuit, or hash browns while you're there. But even if you just get coffee, you'd have to stop by Burger King nearly every day to make them lose money.
Most subscribers won't go daily. And many people who buy the subscription will use it some, but not nearly enough to make it worthwhile. But a subscription represents something we love: price assurance. No guessing about what something will cost, because it's locked in at a low monthly rate. No additional charges, so it's easy to budget for. And companies love it because most subscriptions are underutilized, allowing them to collect fees for services they don't always have to provide.
Subscriptions are a product of the magazine industry, dating back to the 17th century. But today, magazines are almost a minor part of the subscription economy. Need a ride? Get a subscription to Uber or Lyft. Time to shave? Subscribe to Billie. You can forget about ever buying music, because it's available on-demand with iHeartRadio All-Access. Our favorite shows are available with subscriptions to Netflix and Hulu, while going out to the movies is easy with MoviePass (yes, it surprisingly still exists and seems a lot more sustainable now). And how did we live without our subscription to Amazon Prime, with its free shipping and more?
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Burger King certainly isn't unique in offering food subscriptions. Food subscription boxes like Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and others are all the rage. But I can't find any restaurants allowing customers to subscribe to a daily service. And I can't help but wonder if Starbucks will be next to offer coffee by subscription? Of if Burger King will call this experiment a success and offer a variety of subscriptions to preferred meals?
One thing is certain: Subscriptions are here to stay. And it's easy for them to pile up. So much, in fact, that there are services that you can use to monitor the recurring charges you're paying, and cancel unused subscriptions. It's a good idea to check on this now and again. And remember, if all you watch on Netflix is Stranger Things, there's no reason to subscribe 24/7/365. It's cheaper to subscribe only when there's something you want to watch -- or it may be a better value to buy a show for $29.99, rather than paying a monthly fee for a service you mostly don't use.