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Sweetgreen Offers New Perks with Expanded Rewards Program

Sweetgreen makes one more push to get people to order from the app.

Rewards programs are a source of pride for almost every fast-food chain.

As many bend over backwards to increase their online orders, the perks that can be found there often end up being the deciding factor on whether the customers log on or not. 

Some simply don't want to due to habit while others are concerned about privacy. Canadian donut and coffee chain Tim Hortons, owned by Restaurant Brands International  (QSR) , was recently accused by Canadian regulators of allegedly collecting "vast amounts of location data" from the app that customers used to order food .

But there's no reinventing the wheel when it comes to being appealing to customers. The strategy is either to offer free food and discounts or make certain items available only through the app.

Quite often, it's a combination of these "get it while you still can" promotions that get those who wouldn't otherwise download the app on there.

What's Happening At Sweetgreen?

Back in January, fast casual salad chain Sweetgreen  (SG)  launched its digital rewards program. While there were different components and ways to score discounts, the main feature was the $10 subscription offering $3 off salads over the course of a month.

Now six months later, Sweetgreen announced that it is expanding its rewards through a program called "Rewards and Challenges."

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A four-week campaign available on Sweetgreen's app and website, it will offer some ways users can score freebies or discounts. Along with a challenge that will alternate weekly, these include spending $20 and getting $4 in credit on a next purchase and getting a free beverage when you add a side item to one's order.

The first weekly challenge will also give those who buy a bowl or a plate 50% off their next order.

"We see Challenges and Rewards as a way to double-down on owned digital relationships to create a more personalized experience for our customers," Jonathan Neman, Sweetgreen's co-founder and chief executive, said in a statement.

What's Going On With The Digital Future?

Particularly popular among urban professionals running out of the office to grab lunch, Sweetgreen is already doing very well when it comes to digital orders, according to the company, as 66% of its Q1 revenue came from digital sales.

"Approximately two-thirds of our Q1 2022 digital sales came from owned digital channels, and we continue to make investments in our digital channels," Neman said.

Sometimes, a reward program is truly a good deal while, at other times, it can masquerade as such while actually having you order more than you otherwise would. 

But one thing is for certain — a strong rewards program can be a bonafide boon for a company. A month after launching its monthly Taco Lover's pass, Yum! Brands' YUM Taco Bell found that visits to its restaurants increased threefold. 

Research from Apptopia also found that Taco Bell saw its app downloads soar to 1.4 million the same month that it launched the subscription.

"We've seen exactly what we hoped we would: customers who had the pass increased their visits to Taco Bell three times more compared to when they didn't have the pass," Taco Bell Chief Digital Officer Zipporah Allen told TheStreet in a February interview. "Twenty percent of the passes that we sell are completely new customers that are coming into the Taco Bell rewards program and formalizing their membership with the brand."