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Chipotle's loyalty program tops 8.5 million users. CFO Hartung says 'we're just getting started'

Key Points
  • Chipotle's nascent loyalty program tops 8.5 million users and CFO Jack Hartung says "we haven't really monetized that."
  • "We haven't really turned that into a personalized program where we're communicating on a one-to-one basis with our customers," he said in a "Mad Money" interview.
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Chipotle's loyalty program registers 8.5 million users within one year

Chipotle Mexican Grill has registered 8.5 million members on its new loyalty program in less than a year and "we're just getting started," CEO Jack Hartung told CNBC Tuesday.

"We think that's attributed to the natural loyalty that people have to the Chipotle brand, but also to the marketing and awareness building to, you know, attract people into the program," he said in a "Mad Money" interview with Jim Cramer. "The best thing though, Jim, is we haven't really monetized that. We haven't really turned that into a personalized program where we're communicating on a one-to-one basis with our customers."

The restaurant chain launched the rewards program last March with the intention to increase its app downloads. In 2020, the company is focused on growing that user base more and enhance its marketing. Chipotle Rewards offers diners 10 points for every dollar spent and a free entree when they reach 1,250 points.

Chipotle revealed its loyalty member count along with its fourth-quarter earnings report after the closing bell. The burrito chain's revenue matched estimates at $1.4 billion and beat earnings estimates with adjusted earnings per share of $2.86.

Same-store sales grew 13.4%. Of its sales, 19.6% were through digital orders. Chipotle has made updates to its restaurants to give more convenience to diners.

Hartung said Chipotle's margins grew by 220 basis points during the quarter.

"We feel like the margin potential ... as we continue to attract more customers, you know, into the Chipotle system and including into the digital system, which tends to have a higher margin, we think the margin potential only goes up from here," he said.

Chipotle rose more than 2% to $884.82 during the trading day. The stock climbed 1% in the after hours coming off the company's earnings announcement.

VIDEO8:0508:05
Chipotle CFO talks Q4 results, progress in digital strategy

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