Mel Chasen, Founder of Rewards Network and a Merchant Cash Advance Visionary, Has Died
Melvin Chasen passed away on Monday. He was 88. Chasen founded Rewards Network in 1984 as Transmedia Network, Inc. and it went on to become the world’s largest dining rewards program. As part of that, the company pioneered the use of future sales to facilitate working capital to restaurants.
Transmedia became iDine Rewards Network in 2002 but was later shortened to just Rewards Network in 2003. While Chasen had an incredibly accomplished career, a newspaper obituary paying tribute to his life says that Transmedia, a specialized restaurant financing company, was his biggest business success.
A 1991 New York Times article explained the business model as follows: “It gives the restaurant $10,000, a debt that is paid off by providing $20,000 worth of meals to Transmedia customers. The customers pay Transmedia $15,000, a 25 percent discount from face value. If the restaurant goes out of business before Transmedia’s customers eat enough meals, or if customers do not patronize a restaurant, Transmedia suffers the loss.”
To think that concept was not only being applied 26 years ago, but was already a big hit, undoubtedly makes Chasen a top player in merchant cash advance lore. He will be greatly missed.
A service will be held on Thursday, March 16 in North Miami Beach. Memorial donations may be made to the ALS Recovery Fund.Last modified: May 7, 2017