- As of Tuesday, Sweetgreen customers can earn and redeem rewards on in-restaurant orders by scanning a QR code at the cash register, according to a press release. The chain outlined this loyalty change in August.
- This feature was the top request of Sweetpass and Sweetpass+ loyalty members, the company said.
- In-store loyalty redemption will help the chain’s on-premise experience as more customers return to in-person ordering, and also brings its rewards scheme more in line with major brands like McDonald’s, Chipotle and Starbucks.
Almost half of Sweetgreen customers place their orders in-store, said Nathaniel Ru, Sweetgreen’s co-founder and chief brand officer, making it imperative for the brand to establish on-premise access to its rewards program.
On the company’s Q2 earnings call, CEO Jonathan Neman described in-store ordering as “our biggest channel and our fastest-growing channel.” At the time, Neman described Sweetpass “as a channel to acquire and hold new customers as well as drive frequency of our lower-frequency guests.”
The gradual growth of return-to-office traffic, and the related resurgence of on-premise dining, following the end of COVID-19 restrictions in the last two years could explain Sweetgreen’s desire to improve its in-store experience. While the chain is focusing on suburban development, its legacy stores in downtown office districts remain a significant component of its restaurant portfolio, and offering rewards in-store could help rebuild frequency among office workers.
Customers who want to redeem rewards in-store can follow a multi-step process, according to the press release: Customers open the app, select “start challenge” under the loyalty tab, tap “scan,” scan the QR code, and then redeem eligible offers and pay for their meal. While not a strictly points-based program, customer's in-store purchases do contribute to their rewards accrual.
The chain’s loyalty program is a two-tiered program, with a free option and a $10 monthly subscription tier called Sweetpass+ that gives customers a $3 off daily discount on orders, among other benefits. To encourage engagement, Sweetgreen is offering a free three-week trial of Sweetpass+, per the release.
Many rival QSR and fast casual chains are investing in the expansion of their loyalty programs — with new assets ranging from subscription schemes to personalized offerings and gamified rewards — as inflationary pressure nudges diners to trade down. Such offerings can deepen brand intimacy and drive repeat visits, and help restaurants optimize their omnichannel presence.