After several tests, Chipolte is nationally rolling out its long-awaited rewards program, Chipotle Rewards. The program lets people sign up to receive a code used to purchase items on the Chipotle app or in stores. It’s a points program based on dollars spent system, which means, for example, once a members earns 1,250 points—or $125—they get a free meal.
To make a splash around the rollout, a partnership with payment app Venmo offers a giveaway through March 15 for those who use its payment app and give Chipotle their phone number. Winners will get anywhere from $1 to $500 deposited directly into their Venmo accounts, with the brand giving away $250,000 by the time the promotion ends. Bonuses will be include perks like “extra points days,” free chips and guac after the first purchase as a member and surprise birthday rewards.
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This is the latest iteration of Chipolte’s reward program strategy. In summer 2016, it spent millions launching its first reward program, Chiptopia, that made the likes of programs from Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts look rather stingy. That three-month test let members earn rewards based on visit frequency versus the standard points based on dollars spent systems. Customers earned free meals after their fourth, eighth, and 11th visits each month. Members signed on fast and by September 3.1 million had registered.
But Chiptopia wasn’t sustainable and the promotion ended with Chipolte promising a new loyalty program. Last fall, it began piloting Chipolte Rewards in three test markets—Phoenix, Kansas City (Missouri and Kansas) and Columbus, OH.
Digital is growing quickly for the brand, up 66 percent in Q4 and accounting for nearly 13 percent of sales. CEO Brian Niccol told CNBC the program has a “multiplier effect” on the chain’s business—”what we’ve seen is people get more engaged and more committed in our digital system with the loyalty program.” The company is also upping its digital game by installing pickup shelves and drive-thrus for digital orders.