Chipotle Looks to Personalization to Boost Rewards Members’ Engagement

As Chipotle looks to grow its already significant base of loyal customers, the brand is turning to personalized messaging to boost engagement. 

The fast-casual giant, which has more than 3,250 restaurants across five countries, on a call Wednesday (July 26) discussing its second quarter FY2023 financial results, that it is looking to scale its targeting capabilities to drive loyalty.

“You’ll see already some personalization on what we’re offering, as far as recommendations go, to add to your order based on your history with the brand, and … this goes all the way into the cohorts and the journeys that we create,” CEO Brian Niccol stated, noting that these efforts drive loyalty and sales. 

He added that the company’s “experiments” in this area are yielding positive results, and now the brand is looking to scale these initiatives to reach more consumers. 

As it is, the brand’s loyalty program, Chipotle Rewards, is growing by the millions every quarter, with its membership base of 35 million up from about 33 million the previous quarter.

Research from PYMNTS’ March study, “Connected Dining: Consumers Like the Taste of Discount Meals,” based on a February survey of more than 1,800 U.S. consumers, found that 51% reported using a restaurant loyalty program. 

These programs are especially appealing to consumers now, as rising restaurant prices prompt diners to seek deals. The same study found that the share of consumers who redeemed a discount on their most recent restaurant meal rose 86% from March 2022 to February 2023, and the average size of that discount is 24%. 

That share has likely increased in the months since February, as restaurant inflation has surpassed overall food inflation. The Consumer Price Index data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that, in June, while food prices overall rose 5.7% year over year, restaurants’ prices grew 7.7%. 

PYMNTS research finds that Chipotle has one of the top 10 mobile ordering apps on the market, according to the Provider Ranking Mobile Order-Ahead Apps, which scores major players based on loyalty program integrations, average usership and ordering options. 

In the quarter, digital channels accounted for 38% of food and beverage revenue, down slightly from the brand’s 39% digital mix the quarter before, as in-restaurant sales grew.