Qdoba Mexican Grill has had a loyalty program available for customers for several years now, but the company announced that it is rolling out an enhanced version of the program to give customers more flexibility with the points they earn.

Qdoba Rewards creates a bank system that customers can access online and interact with whenever they like, including the ability to redeem their points whenever they choose—like, for instance, to go toward the purchases of friends or family they might be with.

“We listened to our guest feedback and worked with our guests to interpret what new functionalities we could work into the program,” says Chris Bingel, marketing projects manager for Qdoba.

“Guests want to have more choice and control with how they’re interacting with the program. We had no issue with allowing that control at the restaurant level. At the end of the day we just want to make sure our guests are satisfied and keep them coming in with the card.”

Turns out, another functionality customers were looking for with their Qdoba loyalty program was easier method of use. The enhanced Qdoba Rewards program introduces scannable cards, key fobs, and stickers that crewmembers swipe using a newly implemented barcode scanner, Bingel says.

What customers didn’t want, Bingel says, is smartphone compatibility. Despite the rising popularity of mobile loyalty programs, he says, customer research last year found that Qdoba customers weren’t so interested.

“At this point, that’s something we’re still exploring,” Bingel says. “When we worked with our guests to get their feedback on this program, we found that not too many of them were carrying smartphones at the time or were interested in that type of technology.”

“The thing we’re looking at right now is the penetration of the smartphone into the U.S. cellular market, where it stands, where it’s expected to grow,” says Doug Thielen, manager of nontraditional marketing and public relations for Qdoba. “At this time, our best bet is giving them what they were asking for, and put the mobile on a backburner.”

Bingel says the barcode technology that Qdoba is rolling out with its enhanced Qdoba Rewards program will make the transition to a smartphone-compatible loyalty program much easier.

In the meantime, Qdoba plans to push the enhanced loyalty program through in-store point-of-purchase and collateral materials, Thielen says.

By Sam Oches

News, Ordering, Restaurant Operations, Qdoba