Modern fast-casual and quick-service restaurants and chains are waking up to the fact that customers are shifting to digital sales owing to the pandemic. But it’s not enough to simply have digital channels, the customer experience needs to be personalized and exclusive. Modern customers know what they want and that’s where understanding them is critical. Which is why effective loyalty rewards programs are gaining popularity. Chipotle Mexican Grill with over 2700 global locations has doubled down on its efforts to improve customers’ digital experiences so that it aligns with what they offer in-restaurant. Nicole West, Chipotle’s vice president of digital strategy and product management, said “Chipotle Rewards has more than 17 million members and enrollment has continued to grow since the pandemic’s onset. We are seeing an increase in frequency across the board,” West said in a recent interview with PYMNTS. “As we continue to analyze data and grow membership, Chipotle will continue to provide increased personalization and customized offers to meet our guests’ needs.” Chipotle responded to customers’ evolving needs earlier this year by adding Uber Eats and Grubhub to its roster of third-party delivery partners as well as improving its app with a group-ordering feature, according to West.
In order to make the brand more accessible, the leadership team, after months of market testing, launched the Chipotle loyalty program dubbed as Chipotle Rewards. Users earn one point for every $10 spent, and get free entrées after every $125 spent. New users are given free chips and guacamole after their first purchase. Chipotle has also partnered with Venmo to further boost and promote the new program, Venmo will divvy up surprise awards to 25,000 Venmo users each day through March 15. Cash rewards will range from $1 to $500 per person, up to a total of $250,000.
“Chipotle is one of the first brands to utilize Venmo’s technology to engage with customers through this pay-out feature on the Venmo app,” chief marketing officer Chris Brandt said in a statement. “Our customers have been asking for a loyalty program for a long time and we’re excited to partner with Venmo to reach their highly engaged network of digital-first customers.”
Chipotle’s new rewards program garnered 1 million enrollments in the first week and 8.5 million within their first year. So what benefits has the Chipotle Loyalty Program reaped with their omnichannel loyalty program offering?
At the end of Q4 2020, Chipotle saw over a 177% increase in YoY digital sales ending the quarter at $781.4 million. The main contributor of this success has been the introduction of Chipotlanes which are drive-thru lanes allowing easy pick-up of digital orders. “While 62 percent of new restaurants in 2020 had a Chipotlane, our goal is to have more than 70 percent of openings include Chipotlanes in 2021, where we anticipate opening around 200 new restaurants,” said Jack Hartung, Chipotle’s Chief Financial Officer. With over 19.5 million enrolled members, Chipotle Loyalty Program plans improved customer journeys for new members while re-engaging with non-active members by providing personalized targeted offers.