- Rubio’s Coastal Grill announced a new rewards program Tuesday, the first major change to its loyalty platform since its launch in 2019.
- Rubio’s customers can now earn 10 points for every $1 spent. Guests who earn 400 points can redeem them sides, desserts and drinks, and 1,300 points can be redeemed for a free entrée.
- Loyalty programs have become a battleground for restaurant competition, as nearly 50% of diners use at least one restaurant rewards program, according to research from Paytronix and PYMTS.
Rubio’s new dollars-for-points scheme is similar to the structure of loyalty programs operated by major chains. The rewards program was not points-based when it launched, according to an archived version of Rubio’s site. Chipotle, whose reward program is something of an industry standard, gives customers 10 points per $1 spent, alongside other rewards like birthday offerings.
Loyalty programs that integrate with chain’s proprietary apps, as Rubio’s does, help collect valuable data on consumers’ purchasing habits, which can help chains refine menu offerings and sales offers.
This insight could help the chain better chart its business recovery. Rubio’s filed for bankruptcy in late 2020 after nearly three years of declining sales, according to Restaurant Business. The company emerged from bankruptcy shortly after a restructure, but the process only wiped out about $35 million of the chain’s roughly $82 million debt.
With just over 150 restaurants, Rubio’s has a significantly smaller footprint than its Mexican fast casual rivals. Chipotle counts about 3,000 units, while Qdoba and Moe’s have about 730 and 650, respectively. The latter two brands approach loyalty in different ways. Moe’s offers one point for each $1 spent, for instance, then rewards customers with $10 for their next visit after reaching 100 points.
Qdoba recently announced a two-tiered loyalty program, providing members with one point per $1 spent with free entrée redemption at 125 points. After 12 visits in one year, Qdoba members can access a higher rewards tier with more benefits.
Rubio’s is promoting the revamped rewards program by offering all current rewards members 200 points as original members. The chain will provide members with double points earned for every weekend purchase in September.