At the beginning of this summer, the heavens opened up when Chipotle proclaimed the start of its first, but temporary, frequent buyer program. In an attempt to woo back customers burned by the chain’s multiple food poisoning incidents, frequent customers were treated to a free burrito every fourth visit, in addition to apparel, prizes and other giveaways.
As summer fades, it’s time to take stock in Chipotle’s Chiptopia. Should the fast-casual giant make this loyalty program permanent? We asked who took part in Chiptopia this summer:
The majority of those surveyed, 60%, have never heard of Chiptopia. More than 60% of this group is over 35, and are less likely to dine regularly at casual restaurants. This isn’t a surprise, considering Chipotle’s core audience is millennial. Chiptopia really only pays off for frequent buyers, which this audience is not.
Those who answered “No,” share some similarities to those who hadn’t heard of the program. This group is more likely to be over 55, less likely to try things before others and more likely to follow economic trends.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to link economic awareness with eating at Chipotle. It’s no surprise that those who follow such news closely are less inclined to dine at Chipotle, given the amount of press Chipotle has had lately in regards to stocks and falling sales from food-borne illnesses,
Digging into the three remaining responses, we begin to find Chipotle’s core audience. “No, but I meant to,” respondents are more likely to be aged 18-34, Chipotle’s Millennial sweet spot.
Of those who responded, “Yes and it was worth it,” over 40% were under 24. 53% of responses “Yes but it wasn’t worth it,” were between 18-29 years old.
So, how should Chipotle move forward? Chiptopia got the attention of Chipotle’s target audience, but they didn’t necessarily buy into the promotion.
After comparing “Did you participate in Chipotle’s ‘Chiptopia’ rewards program this summer?” with “How many times per month do you eat Mexican food?” we have a clearer answer.
37% of people who responded “No, but I meant to,” eat Mexican food four or more times a month. That’s more than any other group surveyed. 67% of the group eat Mexican food at least three times a month. That’s a large portion of an interested audience who didn’t get back to Chipotle this summer.
It seems Chipotle missed a segment of its fans, perhaps because of the short time span of Chiptopia. Given that Chiptopia rolled out with limited fanfare for a brief period, it’s certainly worth exploring a larger launch this fall.
With the 18-34-year-olds back in a routine, whether it’s the workplace or campus, the Tex Mex eatery might be able to win back more fans if they extend the program into the fall.