Chipo­tle of­fers re­wards

San Francisco Chronicle - - BUSINESS -

In an ef­fort to get more din­ers back in the door af­ter food safety scares dra­mat­i­cally drove down sales, Chipo­tle is launch­ing a loy­alty pro­gram that re­wards re­peat cus­tomers.

The pro­gram, dubbed Chip­topia, starts Fri­day and lasts through the sum­mer. It re­wards cus­tomers based on the num­ber of times they visit Chipo­tle. There are three lev­els: Mild, Medium and Hot. For four vis­its within a given month, cus­tomers will earn “Mild” sta­tus and a free bur­rito, bowl, salad or tacos. Eight will get Medium sta­tus and 11 will un­lock the high­est sta­tus, with each level trig­ger­ing an­other free en­tree. The free meal also counts to­ward the num­ber of en­trees re­quired for the next level.

The visit count restarts ev­ery month, and din­ers who reach re­ward sta­tus each sum­mer month will get a fi­nal bonus. Cus­tomers who make four vis­its each month get an ex­tra free en­tree at sum­mer’s end. Achiev­ing Medium sta­tus all three months gets a cus­tomer $20 in Chipo­tle mer­chan­dise. Cus­tomers with Hot sta­tus all three months will earn cater­ing for 20 peo­ple.

The Den­ver com­pany has mulled a loy­alty pro­gram be­fore as a way to win more cus­tomers. But the sum­mer­long pro­gram does a lot more than that. Cre­at­ing a loy­alty pro­gram al­lows a restau­rant chain to track pur­chases and iden­tify its most valu­able cus­tomers, said Kate Ho­gen­son, a loy­alty an­a­lyst at Ko­bie Mar­ket­ing. That’s some­thing Chipo­tle isn’t, in large part, now able to do.

“This is very ob­vi­ously set up to be a test-an­dlearn strat­egy,” Ho­gen­son said.

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