After a couple years of less-than-appetizing sales, Chipotle has decided to roll out a loyalty program. Though it might seem like a basic move, it’s a new and much-needed leap for the burdened burrito brand. However, the decision did not come about without some trial and error. Here’s what the scandal-laden chain tried before leaning into loyalty:
1. Cultivating a taste for technology: The beleaguered burrito brand gave technology a try last September via a partnership with DoorDash. Customers were offered free delivery on orders of $10 or more while using the DoorDash app. Though the promotion primarily targeted the extra-lazy lot, it also tapped into drop culture by making the offer available for a limited time only.
2. Taking delivery into its own hands: Though the chain had experimented with delivery partners like DoorDash in the past, it finally took matters into its own hands by investing in a new, sped-up mobile delivery system complete with designated queues and shelves in store for mobile, delivery, and drive-through orders. Chipotle actually came to amass the highest adoption of fulfillment features, with only 9% and 19% of brands offering digital payment options for pickup and delivery orders, according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Restaurants.
3. Getting by with a little help from its foes: Though it seemed like a strange move to some, Chipotle poached former Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol in an attempt to bring its digital presence to life. In addition to adding mobile ordering and boosting Taco Bell’s Twitter presence with the “Live Mas” hashtag, Niccol (whose nickname is “Foodie Experiences“) created food mash-ups like Doritos Locos Tacos and nacho fries. Given that Niccol is the one cooking up Chipotle’s new loyalty plan, the takeover might be the brand’s most promising move yet.