In recent news, Darden, the proprietor of the Olive Garden restaurant chain, revealed its acquisition of Ruth’s Chris, the renowned American steakhouse, for a substantial $715 million. This transaction implied a valuation roughly equivalent to last year’s annual revenue or about ten times their adjusted EBITDA for 2022. 
While this is a notable achievement for a large company, the limited presence of recurring revenue likely hampered Ruth’s Chris’s value. A comparison with a different conventional business that boasts recurring revenue sheds light on the potency of automatic clientele. Consider Waste Management, a private refuse collection firm that serves clients through long-term agreements – it trades at more than three times its annual revenue. 
Remarkably, these two enterprises hail from traditional industries and have no ties to software, yet one commands a valuation of one times revenue, while the other commands three. 

Redefining Recurring Revenue: A Spectrum Beyond Software Ventures 

Recurring revenue is commonly linked to software companies, yet its benefits extend to traditional businesses. To exemplify, let's delve into the story of Gamal Codner, the brain behind Fresh Heritage. Originating with beard oil to soften facial hair before shaving, Codner's line of men’s grooming products began its journey. 
Codner turned to Facebook ads to acquire customers, albeit at a cost of approximately $15 each. However, given an average order value of $30, the profit margin proved meager to support his expanding enterprise. Recognizing the need for transformation, Codner diversified his product range, introducing more grooming options. He also launched the VIP Club, a subscription initiative catering to men seeking automated shipments of Fresh Heritage products. 

Beyond Mere Discounts: The Essence of the Subscription Program 

Conducting a comprehensive survey among roughly 500 customers, Codner unearthed an intriguing revelation. His target audience exhibited a stronger inclination towards empowerment and the idea of being alpha figures in their respective spheres, as opposed to being captivated by discounts. This survey's insightful findings seamlessly aligned with Fresh Heritage’s core objective – establishing a unique brand that resonated specifically with growth-oriented men, those committed to bolstering their self-confidence. 
In response, Codner expanded the VIP program's incentives beyond financial discounts. He meticulously cultivated a sense of belonging and community among like-minded individuals driven by personal excellence. Quarterly local meetups were initiated, providing a platform for networking and sharing experiences. These gatherings soon evolved into a potent catalyst, steering new customers towards the immersive experience offered by Fresh Heritage’s VIP program. 

Transitioning from Customers to Subscribers 

Codner's customer acquisition via Facebook advertising underwent a transformation. Instead of solely relying on one-time transactions, he successfully transitioned them into subscribers. This transition significantly amplified their lifetime value. The average order value surged, surpassing $60, and with the subscription base growing to 3,000 members, Codner’s EBITDA margin flourished at 40%. 
This success garnered the attention of BRANDED, a digital-native brand aggregator. In 2022, they extended an acquisition offer to Gamal that he couldn't decline. 

The Power of Recurring Revenue: Elevating Business Worth. 

Recurring revenue isn't confined to the software domain, as Fresh Heritage’s journey demonstrates. Regardless of your industry, the potential to establish a continuous income stream exists. Identify the ongoing needs your customers seek, and you'll possess the foundation for a compelling subscription offering that enhances your business value. 

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