Schalow says Chipotle is committed to transforming into a data-driven organization that touts authentic one-on-one relationships with customers. That’s why Chipotle Rewards includes a strong customer relationship management program, which will allow the company to engage diners through special offers, discounts, and insider access to brand news.
“This rewards program allows us to delight customers on their birthdays, incentivize incremental purchases, and provide rewards for engaging with the brand’s mission to cultivate a better world,” she says. “Customers can participate in bonuses such as double-points days, which will drive new sales and help people get to their rewards faster.”
Schalow adds that the new loyalty program is just one of many recent digital innovations for the burrito company. The recent launch of direct delivery service has led to a spike in digital orders, she says. And a combination of digital pick-up shelves and secondary, tech-enabled production lines has helped Chipotle achieve industry-leading delivery times. The Chipotle Rewards program even incentivizes digital orders; while all orders can earn rewards, the program offers more points for each dollar spent on app and online orders.
In addition to earning points for every dollar spent, the program offers additional points for the most frequent guests, retargets lapsed diners with deals, and offers free chips and guacamole as an introductory gift for new users. Even with monetary benefits, Schalow says, the program is about more than just racking up savings. “Chipotle Rewards is so much more than a value program,” she says.
Operators covet the value of the data collected within robust loyalty programs. At Moe’s Southwest Grill, the loyalty program collects not only purchasing habit data, but also psychographic and demographic data on its loyal customers. Internal data shows that half of all app users are between the ages of 20 and 39 years old. But that’s changing as loyalty apps become more accepted by even the oldest consumers.
“It doesn’t really drop off,” says Moe’s president Bruce Schroder. “Technology is so mainstream that it’s not what you used to think—that it’s only young people who are into this.”
Databases track exactly what items loyal customers purchase and how frequently they buy them. That allows the program to pivot between reinforcing existing purchasing habits and incentivizing loyal fans to try something new—like the brand’s new Three Amigos Tacos line.
Schroder says the brand’s most loyal customers are less fickle than those driven by sales and coupons. Moe’s doesn’t spend much time marketing to that deal-seeking audience because “they’re not loyal other than to the deal,” he says.
Moe’s Rewards has proven successful in transitioning orders to more efficient online platforms. About one in five loyalty orders today are placed digitally, and a growing share of customers are tapping into the loyalty program for their daily purchases.
“We’re pretty proud of the fact that 14 percent of our transactions are done through the loyalty platform,” Schroder says. “That gives you a sense of just how important it is to our business.”