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Sweetgreen Launches Monthly Subscription Program as Salad Chain Eyes Profitability

Sweetgreen Launches Monthly Subscription Program as Salad Chain Eyes Profitability

Sweetgreen subscription
For a small monthly subscription fee, members get daily discounts on Sweetgreen orders and exclusive access to merch drops

Sweetgreen, a fast-casual salad chain, has launched Sweetpass, a loyalty program that includes a monthly subscription tier.

The healthy food chain focuses on convenient and real food that is plant-forward, seasonal and earth-friendly, with meals prepared with fresh ingredients and products that prioritize organic, regenerative and local sourcing.

The new loyalty program comes on the heels of Sweetgreen’s recently resolved legal drama with Chipotle after the popular Mexican fast-food chain sued the salad eatery for trademark infringement. Chipotle took issue with Sweetgreen’s ‘Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl,’ which has since been renamed the ‘Chicken + Chipotle Pepper Bowl,’ as part of an agreement to resolve the lawsuit. 

The latest Sweetpass program allows Sweetgreen customers to select a membership level that works for them and a personalized experience that offers rewards with free menu items.  

The restaurant chain says it’s tested various loyalty initiatives over the last year and discovered guests desire new ways to earn menu discounts and access to lifestyle-driven experiences with the brand. The findings shaped the nationwide program offered in two tiers:

  • Sweetpass is Sweetgreen’s free loyalty program that allows customers to earn Sweetgreen by opting into personalized challenges and access to new menu items and limited edition merch drops that will be exclusively available to Sweetpass members.
  • Sweetpass+ is a $10 monthly subscription membership that rewards loyalists with $3 off daily Sweetgreen orders, priority Sweetgreen support, delivery perks, exclusive access to merch drops, and exclusive Sweetgreen experiences. Sweetgreen ran a pilot program in January 2022, and based on strong customer demand and feedback, is officially making it part of the program.

The Sweetgreen program’s lifestyle component will include an online merch store called “The Market,” which will sell apparel, accessories and gear. Sweetgreen will release its first collection in a series of weekly drops. Members who sign up for Sweetpass will have exclusive access to the collection before it’s available to the general public.

Sweetpass+ members can also redeem a Friends of Earth perk to help select a carbon reduction partner. Sweetgreen will consider these submissions when deciding which organization to donate to at the end of the year.

Sweetgreen subscription
credit: sweetgreen

In honor of Earth Month and as a nod to sustainability, Sweetgreen released its first-ever Impact Report, showing progress towards reaching its carbon neutrality goal by 2027.

“This next phase of loyalty is an exciting result from years of testing, iterating and listening to our customers, leading to a personalized program that further enhances their sweetgreen experience,” Sweetgreen co-founder and CEO Jonathan Neman said in a statement.

Sweetpass and Sweetpass+ will be available to customers through a dedicated section in the Sweetgreen app as well as through Sweetgreen’s website, where rewards can be redeemed at the time of checkout when applicable. Customers can also use the app, website and Instagram to keep up with Sweetpass exclusive menu releases, drops and collaborations that occur throughout the year.

The salad chain went public in November 2021, raising $364 million in its IPO.

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With a history of hosting musical festivals with Blondie and Halsey as headliners, Sweetgreen has reinvigorated and reimagined salads and healthy eats, catching the attention of tennis player Naomi Osaka, who became the company’s first athlete ambassador and its youngest investor.

Kendrick Lamar also got into the Sweetgreen action, inspiring a “Beets Don’t Kale My Vibe” salad that resulted in ten percent of proceeds going to FoodCorps. 

The salad chain was founded by a trio of business graduates of Georgetown University in 2007 and opened its first 560-square-foot location in Washington, D.C. The eatery hit a bump last summer, and in a move to manage operating expenses, conducted layoffs of approximately five percent of its staff.

In Q1 of 2023, Sweetgreen reported a net loss of $33.7 million, less than the $49.7 million loss it posted in the prior-year period. The salad chain posted revenue of $125.1 million for the quarter, up 22% from $102.6 million in the period-year period.

Sweetgreen is aiming to achieve profitability for the first time in 2024.

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