Amidst tension created by a series of foodborne-illness outbreaks, Chipotle is introducing a new way to bring customers back, by offering a new loyalty program. The Chiptopia Summer Rewards program will be launching July 1st and will continue on for next three months.
The company has been having a difficult time rebranding ever since an E. coli outbreak and multiple norovirus cases were attributed to the franchise. In an attempt to boost sales Chipotle attempted various marketing tactics as well as offering coupons, yet has had limited success.
In Chipotle’s announcement, the company stated that “Customers who register for the program in July earn a free chips and guacamole with their first entrée purchase (of $6 or more, before tax) and will be eligible for special Bonus Rewards, available for redemption at the end of the promotion.”
The program requires customers to spend at least $6 on a purchase before tax in order to gain a credit (credits reset each month). Four credits in a month earns diners “mild” status and a free entrée. Eight credits in within a month earns another free entrée and a promotion to “medium” status. Eleven visits in a month a earns the diner a third free entree and a bump to “hot” status. Burrito enthusiasts that achieve “hot” status for all three months will also get free catering for 20.
Mark Crumpacker said in a statement that he hopes that the loyalty program will lead to something “more permanent”. “While Chiptopia Summer Rewards lasts just three months, we will be carefully listening to our customers and using what we learn as we consider the design of an ongoing rewards program,” he said.
Will The Chipotle Loyalty Rewards Program Succeed?
Chipotle’s loyalty rewards program might be successful just on the merit that the program follows the simple tenet of using a “point system”. This is one of the reasons Ebay’s Ebay Bucks are successful, the loyalty system is easy to understand, and to the point.
While it is a good tactic to offer existing loyal customers incentive to revisit the store, I wonder if this move will bring in new customers, or past ones to come back. Either way, this seems to be a step in the right direction for Chipotle.