Published By Upzaar Team

Sweetgreen: Loyalty Program Teardown


Always in-season and flourishing, Sweetgreen is a healthy fresh food option, no longer salads deemed just a side dish, but rather the main course — a filling meal of greens!

This fast-casual food chain is widely celebrity-endorsed, (TV personas, TikTokers, and even athletes! Their newest brand ambassador is NBA star, Devin Booker!) only racking up more and more millennial and Gen Z customers since opening to the public in 2007. With so many valuable customers already, you’d wonder if they even need a loyalty program.

The short answer is for now, yes. The majority does.

Even if you have a lot of customers at first, no telling whether they’d stay in business with you or not. Sweetgreen has lines of customers that go down for miles, and they intend to keep it that way. (Figuratively of course, they do have their online ordering system as well, we are dealing with post-pandemic millenial and gen z customers after all).

Sustainably farmed, aesthetically pleasing, celebrity vouched, with menu-puns for days, let’s look into Sweetgreen’s original tier loyalty program’s replacement. With the young adult generation in mind, they aim for a more engaging way to earn.

They had a wildly successful short pilot program called “sweetpass”, to learn more about their consumers and their preferences, they’d possibly have a full new loyalty program set sometime in 2023 incorporating what they’ve gathered.


Initially, Sweetgreen incorporated a classic tiered loyalty program. All that’s left of that is the birthday rewards, the rest totally replaced and — as many say- upgraded! It was created to accommodate new post-pandemic needs, and to connect with the community in a way that works for them.

What’s different now is the addition of a “rewards and challenges” digital feature.

The process is a unique one, as many companies talk about incorporating a gamified approach or declaring the need for it in this excitement seeking era, but not many end up executing it in their own programs.

To start off, customers can’t participate without having an online account. They can participate after they’ve created one by downloading their app. Available both on iOS and android. There, they’d be able to head to the Challenges section to earn rewards that can be used on their next or future purchases!

Challenges can be reaching a specific spend amount, going a certain amount of times, or buying specific items they have stated. After achieving them, customers would receive a reward for that challenge accomplished. A pop-up while at checkout reinstates your accomplishment and says you’ve earned a reward which you can see either in your checkout or by clicking “see my reward” on the challenges page.

They update with new challenges on the website or on the Rewards and Challenges section of the app. They constantly have new ones, so be sure to refresh and check them out frequently! They have your progress saved in those two places as well.

The Sweetgreen App

Sweetgreen already has an incredibly high digital sales number, well-over half their customers purchase digitally. Instead of seeing that as success and stopping there, they want to see that number even higher. Which is an aspect super important to marketing: increasing what you got. With increasing digital sales in mind, they have exclusive menu items available only online and on their app.

You can order delivery or pickup, access personalized promos, and be able to browse and order exclusive menu items from there.

To even partake in the challenges, customers have to either create an account online, or they must download the app. You first check out all the new challenges on the Rewards and Challenges section on the app’s homepage, then you click “start challenge” on the challenge you’re capable of doing or just catch your fancy to try out. To accomplish the goal you have to complete all the steps before the “end date”, only going halfway before it’s over doesn’t count. From there, you can keep tabs on progress online or also on the app.

The app or digital account is pretty vital throughout the process. You can’t complete or redeem rewards by ordering at any physical store even if you pay using the app as there’s a “Scan to Pay” feature. Orders must be made through those two online places only, any third-party platforms don’t count as well.

Rewards and Promotions

Now for the rewards you’ve earned, they can only be redeemed on orders made using the app or their website on qualified pickup, delivery and outpost orders.

Just as challenges have time limits, rewards have expiration dates as well. Any unredeemed reward will vanish from your account when the expiration date hits.

Here are some of the promotions they also have going on!

1. Referring a friend! Within 30 days of creating an account, and completing a purchase using that account to order online you can refer a friend and receive a reward for it if the friend completes a qualified transaction. You’ll receive a 7-dollar Promo Credit that’s valid for a month. You can only use this through online ordering. You can order within the menu, but can’t use it to buy a gift card as it doesn’t have actual cash value.

2. Gift cards! Gift cards can definitely be used in-store, but for orders not for merchandise.

3. When placing your first online order you can receive a $5 credit. The minimum amount for your first purchase to count has to have a $7.95 minimum, before tax. If you use other discounts and reward credits and the total ends up less, then it doesn’t count either. This offer is a pretty reoccurring one with different names such as Table Top Marketing promotion, Local Store Marketing, or City Vista Signage. Different names, the initially same promotion.

4. $5 for scanning the QR code on Neon Card. Once you create an account on the app, scan the QR code, and link your credit card. You then receive a $5 in-store credit. You can use it for delivery, use the app to order ahead for pickup or you can use it in-store as well.

5. $5 for visiting a newly opened, select location of their choosing. This last a week or two after receiving the reward. The limits of this promotion differ, as it changes by location.

6. $0 dollar delivery! Close to free, but not quite as the 15% service fee is still included for all the deliveries, but you can receive this reward if you purchase digitally at least one time at a select new Sweetgreen restaurant.

7. Spend 25 dollars, and get 5 bucks back. If your order is at least 25 dollars before tax and any extra fees you’ll get a 5-dollar credit added to your account which can then be added to your current bag at checkout. This, like many other rewards, is only available to be redeemed digitally. It’s not valid for in-store purchases. Gotta minimize those lines somehow!

8. There’s catering promotions as well. Before the year ends, there are three limited-time catering promotions available. For Outpost partners, using the code “sgcatering25” will receive 25% off their order. Of course, excluding delivery fees and tax, it’s just a one-time discount. There are different codes for new clients, for users who receive SG catering marketing through their emails, and for users receiving SG Catering Promotional Collateral. Different codes, but same promotion.

They also give targeted offers that are only valid through more specific requirements to be able to cash them in. For example, they have a free delivery targeted offer. If one has ordered at least five times from Sweetgreen ever, yet their last time being within the last 30 days, and have never ordered delivery from the app or online, will receive this free delivery email to try it out. The difference between have a $0 delivery and free delivery is that they also don’t have to pay a cent for service fees and delivery fees. They also have the $0 delivery as a targeted offer as well for the same qualifications as the free delivery. The third potential targeted offer is the exact same as the last two except you’re given a $4 delivery credit rather than it being free or zero, just less! Who can complain, a discount is a discount!


In conclusion, there’s always room for improvement, with or without drastic economic changes. Sweetgreen isn’t stopping here, they’re also considering adding a drive-thru option in their Illinois branch called “Sweetland” sometime next year as well.

Seeing how well Sweetpass did, who knows where they’ll go with their loyalty program- especially once it becomes the norm, how else can they shake it up!

Sure you can try to make salads at home. But can you recreate the atmosphere, and experiences that bring these sweet bonuses and rewards? Thinking about it, that line trailing out of your nearest Sweetgreen's store is looking pretty long right about now, nice to have the app on hand!

© 2022 by Upzaar. 

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