Liquid Barcodes

Resources

All You Need to Know about Sweetgreen

Paula Thomas, Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes

24/09/2018

It’s not often that a quick service food chain with just seventy-seven stores joins the illustrious company of industry giants like Starbucks and Dominos as one of the top ten most innovative food companies in the worldSweetgreen is a brand that has achieved this incredible feat.

Describing itself as a destination for simple, seasonal, healthy food, the US company has become a “darling” of the venture capital world, raising $135 million to date from investors, creating “one of America’s sexiest startups”.

Founded in 2007, the brand has been lauded both by traditional media such as The New Yorker and Wall Street Journal, as well as tech titles including Inc.com and Entrepreneur magazine.

In this article, we explore the impressive achievements of this ambitious young brand, and its approach to both technology and loyalty.

The Original Sweetgreen Store

The Original Sweetgreen Store in Washington, D.C.

Background

Three college friends – Nicolas JammetJonathan Neman, and Nathaniel Ru, all from entrepreneurial parents, met as freshmen in Georgetown University and became firm friends. With a shared love of tasty healthy food, they also believed that food service restaurants have become largely disconnected from their roots, from famers and even from the local community.

They developed a vision of a sustainable lifestyle brand, connecting with communities around food, which resonated with family and friends. Over forty of them invested in the business to provide the initial capital for the trio’s first store.

Since then the company has gone from strength to strength, resulting in a “cult explosion” that they attribute to a combination of discipline and an understanding of the dynamics of a technology start-up brand, to create a new “frontier” in the US food service industry.

Business Strategy

1) Sweetgreen exudes integrity – exactly what an increasing number of customers are demanding from brands. Whether as a consumer, or as an employee, key demographics such as millennials and Gen Z want to connect with brands they trust. Sweetgreen’s food ethos focuses on food that’s both regional and seasonal, with a clear brand promise to positively impact the communities they serve.

2) The brand’s marketing strategy meets consumers where they are – on social media. From their early days, the team has leveraged the power of relevant content, clever copy and beautiful imagery to “rock content marketing”.

3) The company doesn’t operate any franchise stores currently – preferring instead to own and operate its stores directly, supported by their team of over 3,500 staff.

4) Technology is a key pillar to their success. The chain has successfully re-structured its operations to allow customers to pre-order, pre-pay and completely “skip the line” using the Sweetgreen app. Co-founder and CEO Jonathan Neman, describes this as allowing the brand “to meet customers where they are”, and as well as opening an increasing number of restaurants, investing in technology is a key focus driving the company’s growth.

5) Sweetgreen has gone cashless is most of its stores – accepting only cards or the company’s app for payment. Three reasons were quoted for this decision which rolled out in 2017 – improved security and hygiene – but most importantly the ability to improve the speed of service in store.

The Sweetgreen app

The Sweetgreen app in the iTunes store.

Loyalty Strategy

1) As with most contemporary loyalty programmes, the Sweetgreen rewards and recognition programme is based on spend (not transactions).

2) There are three status levels or tiers – green members (who spend up to $100 in a year), gold members (who spend up to $1,000 a year) and black members (who spend up to $2,500 per year).

3) Rewards include both functional rewards (value back based on spend) and emotional rewards (designed to appeal to our softer side).

4) The basic reward is a $9 coupon rewards for every $99 spent within 120 days. Only orders placed using the app, online or scan to pay in-store count towards this spend.

5) Each members gets a birthday reward. It’s a $10 coupon and it’s valid for a full 30 days to use with nice messaging to say ‘your birthday meal is on us’. 

6) Tier benefits are designed to make members feel like family (Black members are told “we..may have even met your parents.”)

7) Other benefits include access to invite-only events such as exclusive tastings and merchandise and the services of the Sweetgreen concierge. Black members also get an exclusive private party for their ten closest friends!

Loyalty Strategy

Marketing Strategy

 1) Along with their elegantly simple rewards programme, Sweetgreen have historically run an annual music festival for fans. Originally the idea to use music was a “desperate move” to attract customers when the company opened its second store but had almost no customers in its first few days. This year, the format is changing – returning to a smaller, more intimate “block party” style event in its original home state of Washington.

2) Menu changes are advised to fans of those dishes (only) by email in advance – a practical demonstration of another core value to “cultivate authentic…relationships.”

3) The over-arching intention is “choicelessness” a surprising (and perhaps made-up word) that CEO Jonathan Neman uses to simplify decisions, in an era he describes as “decision fatigue”.

4) The company also has a unique design approach to its storefronts – almost every one is different. While similar, the store formats and branding are varied, further evidence of the intention to localise each store rather than attempt a homogenous brand nationwide.

5) The company has implemented an education programme, visiting public schools to talk to children about sources of nutrition in their diet. A clever strategy, connecting with both the community and potential future customers.

 food

Passion X Purpose

Whether or not you’re a fan of salads, there’s no doubt that the concept of green food, locally and sustainably sourced is clearly resonating. While time is clearly a key priority for the food service sector, it seems that a beautifully crafted brand that connects with customers in more meaningful ways is an even bigger draw. This video show the brand background and insights – one to perhaps ‘copy with pride’?
Video About Sweetgreen's History
Video About Sweetgreen’s History.

About Us:

Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty technology company specialized for the convenience store and foodservice industries. Our proprietary cloud-based technology platform allow retailers to create and manage their digital marketing campaigns with a proprietary process we call the “customer connection cycle’ to engage, promote and reward customers activities in real-time across digital and media channels.

How we do it:

We have developed the most advanced loyalty and digital marketing technology platform specifically for convenience store and foodservice retailers globally.

Retailers use our self-service dashboard to create and manage loyalty driven marketing campaigns that increase purchases with their existing customers, as well as effectively target and acquire new customers through partners or paid media channels.

One core component of live loyalty is gamification. We have gamified branding, loyalty and promotions. We believe this approach is essential in order to get customers’ attention and ultimately truly engage them with repeatable actions thereby winning their loyalty.

Check out some of our exciting/proven results here:

www.LiquidBarcodes.com

About Me:

Paula Thomas

Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes and Independent Loyalty Consultant.

With over twenty-five years marketing experience, I specialise in loyalty marketing consulting, managing consumer loyalty propositions, strategy and operations. In addition to working with Liquid Barcodes, my clients have included Telefonica O2, Three Mobile, Electric Ireland, Allied Irish Bank and The Entertainer, as well as Avios – the global points currency for some of the world’s top airlines. I am also a judge for the Loyalty Magazine Awards. 

—————————————————————————————–


Blog post

Save Thousands in Credit Card Fees With ACH

Visa and Mastercard announced an increase in interchange fees this month and retailers are taking action and sending a message by migrating their customers to new solutions, including mobile app-based ACH payments, and in the process increasing profits by not only reducing credit card fees but also boosting loyalty via innovative app based incentive programs. […]

Blog post

Maxol Launches First-of-Its-Kind Loyalty App With FuelPay in Ireland

Maxol, Ireland’s largest family-owned forecourt and convenience retailer, announced it has launched a new customer loyalty app with never-before-seen features in the Irish market.   After more than a century serving Irish customers, Maxol’s 240+ stores and service stations are located throughout Ireland and have enjoyed global recognition for their best-in-class operations, store design and […]

Blog post

Delivering Personalized Content With Machine Learning and Image Recognition

Build personalized customer connections, improve efficiency, and make intelligent, data-driven decisions using machine learning and image recognition.   It’s 7:15 in the morning and a customer – Amy – is on her way to work. She is on the hunt for coffee and breakfast and stops at a convenience store. She opens her store app […]

Blog post

Sweet Tea and Coffee Subscription Beverage Programs Brew Recurring Revenue

As summer nears, consumers are turning their attention towards refreshing iced beverages and iced tea is a hot seller this time of year, especially when sold with a subscription beverage program. Sweet tea might be the quintessential drink of southerners in the U.S, but the rest of the country has developed a taste for the […]

Blog post

Circle K’s Use of Beacon Technology to Activate Car Wash Subscription Program

Beacon Technology and Car Wash Subscription Programs Beacon technology used in tandem with a customer-facing car wash subscription program revolutionizes the customer experience by providing a quick, convenient experience. Innovation is the key to continued growth and ensuring a frictionless customer experience should be top of mind for any retailer. Circle K’s vast global network […]

Blog post

Unlimited Car Washes!

Subscription programs for car washes are a hot trend in convenience retail.

Blog post

Car Wash Program Drives Sales for United Pacific

Car wash programs are revenue drivers for convenience stores and fueling stations around the globe. Making sure the process is convenient and cost-effective for customers increases traffic and drives in-store sales. Oftentimes, car wash units occupy a small corner of the lot and do not receive much attention. This is not the case for those […]

Blog post

Danish Railway Rewards Riders with DSB Plus

The Danish railway system, known as DSB, is going the distance to reward customers by partnering with convenience retailer 7-Eleven to deliver points towards food and coffee simply for riding the rails. Whether commuting or travelling longer distances, riders who join DSB Plus earn points whenever they travel within Denmark. DSB is an abbreviation for […]

Blog post

Subscriptions for the win!

Amazon Prime is, by nature, a subscription under the auspice of membership. Pay an annual fee, get 2-day shipping and exclusive deals. Amazon took it one level further with “Subscribe & Save” where you can get everyday – and not so everyday – items shipped to you on a regular schedule.  In the early days […]

Blog post

Customer Retention Program of Circle K Vietnam

As the first international convenience store brand to launch in Vietnam, Circle K has over a decade of expertise catering to the needs of the 96 million residents of this huge country, operating a network of over four hundred convenience stores each open 24 hours a day! So launching an outstanding customer retention program was […]

Blog post

Stinker Stores Named Best New Loyalty Program in the U.S.

        2021 Best New Loyalty Program  Stinker Stores’ new loyalty program offers multiple redemptions with a single scan and stands out with a gamification feature to keep customers engaged. This article is originally published on CStoreDecisions and written by Erin Del Conte | October 28, 2021 Stinker Stores, with 103 convenience stores across Idaho, […]

Liquid Barcodes

Put a rocket under your loyalty program

With our loyalty platform, we help design and operate world-class, tailor-made subscription and reward programs that make sure your customers always come back.

Book a Demo →

We are trusted by global brands.

Convenience retailers all over the world have engaged and rewarded consumers with our tailor-made loyalty programs.

To our case studies →

Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes

Convenience retailers all over the world have engaged and rewarded consumers with our tailor-made loyalty programs.

To our case studies →

Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes