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Sweetgreen tweaks its app to add challenges, personalization

The salad chain, which did away with its loyalty program last year, said it hopes its new Rewards and Challenges program will boost customer frequency.
Photo courtesy of Sweetgreen

Sweetgreen is gamifying its app, part of a pilot program the salad chain hopes will boost customer frequency while allowing it to experiment with personalized offers, the company announced Monday.

The four-week “Summer of Rewards” test will offer a new Rewards and Challenges program via Sweetgreen’s app and website. The program launched Monday and runs through July 24 and features weekly challenges that allow diners to earn rewards upon completion.

Challenges include order a side item, get a free beverage; spend $20 and get a $4 credit on a future purchase; and order delivery to receive free delivery on the next order.

Digital sales made up 66% of Sweetgreen’s revenue during the first quarter, with about two-thirds of those digital sales coming via the company’s own channels. A year ago, 77% of the chain’s orders came through digital channels. Sweetgreen declined to say how many current app users it has.

“The company believes enhancing its digital experience, with a focus on owned digital relationships, will allow them to drive frequency and additional restaurant volume,” a company spokesperson said via e-mail.

Sweetgreen, which has more than 160 locations, said it hopes, over time, to make the Rewards and Challenges program more targeted and personalized.

“Sweetgreen is re-envisioning the future of its loyalty program, working to shift away from a one-size-fits-all approach to a more flexible program that focuses on customer control and visibility,” the company said.

In March 2021, Sweetgreen did away with its tiered loyalty program.

“It’s been a challenging year for everyone and our business is no exception,” the company said at the time. “In full transparency, our decision was deeply rooted in our strategy to re-emerge from the pandemic with a sustainable path forward …”

Sweetgreen, which went public in November, has been hard hit by the pandemic as many of its urban office-worker customers have yet to return to their desks.

Early this year, Sweetgreen tested a monthly subscription program called Sweetpass. The $10 pass, good for 30 days, gave users a $3 credit for every purchase of $9.95 or more on the chain’s app or website.

Chain executives said the Sweetpass test “exceeded our expectations.”

Last September, Chipotle Mexican Grill added a gamification aspect to its wildly popular rewards program. Under Chipotle’s Extras platforms, diners can collect achievement badges and extra rewards points after completing personalized challenges. Chipotle’s rewards program now has more than 27 million members.

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