Rewards Network

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Industry Financial Services
Founded 1984
Founder Mel Chasen
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois, United States
Area served
North America
Key people

Dan Kazan
(Chief Executive Officer)

Shane Kern
(Chief Financial Officer)

John Leen
(Chief Sales Officer)

Alice Geene
(Chief Legal Officer)

Number of employees
375 (2011)[2]

Rewards Network is a financial and marketing services company that provides restaurants with immediate capital (through merchant cash advance) and access to diners who belong to various dining rewards programs. Over 11,000 restaurants are members of Rewards Network. 90,000 restaurants have participated in the program over the past 30 years, with over $2.5 billion of financing being awarded. [3]


Mel Chasen founded Rewards Network in September 1984, as Transmedia Network, Inc., in New York City. The company started with 41 restaurants and 225 members. Mike Nichter, who created the MCI Green Card - the initial restaurant platform - invested money restaurant credits, barter experience, and sales management shortly after Mel and David Roth raised the initial fundiing. By 2000, Transmedia was the world's largest dining rewards program, with over 2 million members and 8,000 restaurants. In 2002, Transmedia changed its name to iDine Rewards Network. In 2003, the name was shortened to Rewards Network.[4] The company was taken private in December, 2010.[5]

Rewards network tools for restaurants[edit]

Comment management system[edit]

The Rewards Network comment management system allows restaurants to connect with their diners outside of the restaurant. When a member of Rewards Network eats at a program restaurant, they will receive a request for comment via email a day or so after paying their check. Restaurateurs can then know without any doubt that the comment came from someone who actually paid to eat at their establishment. Every review is verified and tied to actual money spent.[6]

Data and analytics[edit]

Because Rewards Network is able to connect restaurants to actual customers, they have the ability to break down average check size, party size, ratings by key metrics, and geographic reach. Restaurants can then turn around and use that data to make better business decisions and decide how to compete in their local market.[7]

Marketing for restaurants[edit]

Rewards Network markets program restaurants to diners via various rewards programs across the United States.

  • Advertising opportunities provide additional exposure through spotlights, banners, and landing pages.
  • Diner Reviews sends surveys to diners.
  • Emails include embedded search engines and links that lead diners to the restaurant.
  • Mobile Web allows diners to search for restaurants in or near any city.[8]
  • Social Media connects diner ratings and reviews to Facebook.
  • Web Marketing provides a virtual meeting place that connects diners to restaurants through dining program websites.

Financing for restaurants[edit]

Rewards Network provides restaurant owners with a cash infusion through two Merchant Cash Advance programs designed specifically for the restaurant industry, Premier Restaurant Funding and Dining Credits. Each program includes the Marketing Services programs listed above and provides restaurant owners and operators with an alternative to a traditional business loan.

Merchant cash advance is not a loan. Merchant cash advance provides the cash businesses need through a purchase of their future credit card receivables. Rewards Network agrees to pay its merchant cash advance clients upfront in a lump sum for a percentage of sales they will make over time. Loans are generally fixed and not based on actual sales. A merchant cash advance is based entirely on the projected volume of future credit card receivables.[9]

Businesses that choose merchant cash advance as a method of restaurant financing don’t pay back a debt the way they do when taking out a loan. When future credit card sales are sold to the company offering the merchant cash advance, a client isn’t repaying; they’re simply delivering on a purchase already made. Future receivables are sold in exchange for cash when, and to the extent that, they actually occur. With a loan, a business must repay the principal and interest amount borrowed no matter what the ebb and flow of business looks like.

Dining programs[edit]

Airline programs[edit]

Charitable programs[edit]

Hotel programs[edit]

Savings programs[edit]

Entertainment programs[edit]


  1. ^ "About Our Restaurant Funding and Marketing Services". 
  2. ^ "Form 10-K". 
  3. ^ "Why Us". Rewards Network. 
  4. ^ "Rewards Network". Hoovers. 
  5. ^ "Middle Market". TheMiddleMarket. 
  6. ^ "Comment Management System". Rewards Network. 
  7. ^ "Data Insights". Rewards Network. 
  8. ^ "Marketing Services". Rewards Network. 
  9. ^ "Earn Cash While Shopping". 
  10. ^ "AAdvantage Dining". Rewards Network. 
  11. ^ "MileagePlus Dining". Rewards Network. 
  12. ^ "Rewards Network". Skymiles. 
  13. ^ "Rewards Network". TrueBlue. 

External links[edit]