Power Players

Netflix passed 200 million subscribers, so CEO Reed Hastings ordered a steak from Denny’s — here's why

Co-founder and CEO of Netflix Reed Hastings attends a red carpet for the Netflix launch at Palazzo Del Ghiaccio on October 22, 2015 in Milan, Italy.
Jacopo Raule | Getty Images

Netflix hit another major milestone on Tuesday when the streaming giant said it topped 200 million subscribers for the first time. CEO Reed Hastings decided to celebrate: so, he ordered dinner from Denny's.

The 60-year-old Netflix co-founder might have an estimated net worth of $5.8 billion, according to Forbes. But Hastings apparently won't let his ability to buy dinner pretty much anywhere he wants get in the way of a superstitious tradition.

Hastings marked Tuesday's Netflix milestone the same way he's celebrated the company's milestones in the past — by eating a steak from Denny's all by himself. 

In 2017, Hastings celebrated Netflix passing 100 million subscribers the same way. He even posted a photo of the occasion on Facebook and explained it was the same way he'd celebrated Netflix hitting 1 million subscribers (back in 2003), along with the hashtag "#superstitious." 

Celebrating 100m members the same way I did 1m: a steak alone at Denny's. #superstitious

Posted by Reed Hastings on Friday, April 21, 2017

Netflix did not immediately respond to CNBC Make It request for comment on why Hastings originally began his tradition of celebration Netflix subscriber milestones at Denny's. Of course, it's not like Netflix was just a scrappy startup in 2003, either. The company had just launched its IPO a year earlier, which raised $82.5 million. (In 2021, a steak at Denny's costs less than $20.)

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On Tuesday, Hastings shared a picture of his latest celebratory meal on Twitter. Hastings noted that this most recent dinner was consumed at home via "Denny's on Demand," as in-person dining is currently banned in California amid the coronavirus pandemic. (LightShed analyst Rich Greenfield had previously tweeted at Hastings asking if he could get his celebratory meal from Denny's delivered.)

Analysts believe the pandemic has only helped Netflix's business, likely pushing the streaming company's subscriber totals above the 200 million mark with more and more people relying on in-home entertainment over the past year. 

Netflix's stock price climbed nearly 15% on Wednesday morning (and, it's up over 70% in the past year) after the company announced the subscriber milestone along with fourth-quarter revenue of $6.6 billion that represented a 20% bump compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

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