Chipotle Chiptopia Rewards

Chipotle has recently announced a new summer-long loyalty-like program to lure back some of those guests who were scared away by the troubles the company has recently faced. I label this loyalty-like because it’s more of a short-term promotion rather than the long-term strategy that loyalty marketing represents. It’s tough to make significant short-term progress with a loyalty program because by nature those who will get on board first are typically a brand’s best and most frequent guests. So short-term efforts at loyalty can become break-even at best and quite possible negative, with many visit unnecessarily discounted.

This Chipotle Chiptopia program goes live on July 1, 2016 and runs through the end of September. On the one hand, Chipotle has attempted to create a program that aims specifically at the creation of incremental visits. However, the program they have created is complicated. I often say that a loyalty program has to be simple enough for a server to explain in one, maybe two sentences.

Here is the graphic they’re using to explain the program:

Chipotle Chiptopia Graphic

It’s takes some work to figure this thing out. I think plenty of guests will join and figure “why not?” Those who really try to figure this out are likely to be who? Those who really like Chipotle and already visit Chipotle a lot.

If you don’t want to study the graphic you can watch a video about the program:

Chiptopia Summer Rewards Program from Chipotle Mexican Grill on Vimeo.

Blaze Pizza Rewards

Blaze Pizza is all the rage because of the way the company has reinvented the process of ordering pizza. They’ve turned it into made to order fast casual allowing consumers to select each sauce and topping individually and have their hot, crispy and yummy pizza ready in less than five minutes.

Blaze also has an app-based rewards program, allowing members who download the app to earn “flames” every time they spend five dollars or more at a Blaze Pizza location. Once you’ve earned ten flames you’ll get a reward. The snag with this is that they don’t specifically describe what the reward is. And as far as I can tell, the only information about the program is in the app, not on the Blaze Pizza website.

I’ll find out once I get to ten flames. Because of the convenient nature of the Blaze concept and the really good pizza, it’s a viable lunch option that competitive with most other fast casual restaurant concepts and one of the few that offer tasty and fast pizza. So it doesn’t take long to get to ten flames.

Learn more about Blaze Pizza at the website. For more about the app and Blaze Pizza Rewards, check out the app on your smart phone.

Four Corners Tavern Restaurant Group facing troubles with changes to their rewards program

This appeared in the Chicago Tribune on June 14, 2016. Consumers are serious about their rewards and can get quite upset when massive changes are made. We’ll see more and more of this as restaurant rewards programs become more pervasive. Restaurant companies must be much more careful about how they implement changes and should isolate their current membership from the negative impact of changes.

From the Chicago Tribune:

A Cook County man is suing Four Corners Tavern Group, which has 11 restaurants in Chicago and another one coming to Maggie Daley Park, after the company allegedly switched rewards programs and left “hundreds or thousands” of customers with no way to redeem credit accumulated toward rewards.

Micah Riskin, a regular customer of Highline in River North and other Four Corners establishments, filed his class-action complaint in Cook County Circuit Court last week, alleging the restaurant group violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Last March, Riskin signed up for the “Spring Rewards” program offered through Highline, but Four Corners left him and others with no way to transfer credit toward rewards when it switched programs in January, the lawsuit said.

“It’s something they do to bring people in the door. They should live up to their obligations, in our minds,” said Aron Robinson, Riskin’s attorney, on Tuesday.

Anna Treiber, a spokeswoman for Four Corners Tavern Group, said the company is declining to comment on the lawsuit.

Four Corners operates its taverns — Highline, Fremont, Benchmark, Schoolyard, Westend, Kirkwood, Gaslight, Sidebar Grille, Ranalli’s, Steak Bar and Federales — primarily in the Loop and on the city’s North and Near West sides, but has a vision to “open an establishment in all of the unique neighborhoods throughout Chicago,” according to Four Corners website. The group’s also been approved to operate a restaurant in Maggie Daley Park that’s slated to open next year.

Each Four Corners location had its own distinct program and rewards didn’t transfer between taverns. At Highline, under the “Spring Rewards” program, customers were to be awarded a $10 credit for every $250 spent, according to the lawsuit.

By the time Four Corners announced the change — from Spring Rewards to My4C Points — in January, Riskin had spent $240 of the $250 needed at Highline in order to receive the $10 credit, the complaint said.

Four Corners communicated the change to customers via email on January 15, stating that rewards had to be redeemed by the end of February. But there was no way for customers like Riskin to transfer credit to the new program, according to the lawsuit.

“It’s nice to move on to something better, but you have all these people who have accrued these points,” Robinson said.

Four Corners was founded by Andy Gloor and Matt Menna, principals with real estate firm Sterling Bay.

Barnes & Noble Membership Rewards

This program has been around for many years and is an integral part of the Barnes & Noble brand experience. Members pay $25 per year for membership and immediately receive $50 in discounts.

Members also receive:

  • Free express shipping on orders.
  • 40% off hardcover best sellers.
  • 10% off just about everything else.

If you buy books, it’s a great deal.  No need to carry your card if you’ve connected your phone number.

Learn more at the program website »