Just 10 weeks after Washington, D.C.-based sweetgreen launched a mobile payments and rewards app, CEO Nathaniel Ru is already calling it a success. The app, sweetgreen rewards, represents 18 percent of the chain's total transaction volume, which ranks above Mastercard or American Express, and is head-to-head with cash, Ru said.

"It's been amazing to see one out of every five of our guests pay with the new app — and that's just in the first three months of launching," he said.

Sweetgreen partnered with LevelUp to develop a customized rewards app that provides guests with a mobile payment option, and allow them to unlock loyalty rewards and give back to local charities. The sweetgreen-branded app is powered by LevelUp and includes loyalty tracking, customer analytics, engagement tools and security, Ru said.

It integrates into sweetgreen's existing POS and allows guests to earn dollars that can be redeemed at any of sweetgreen's 17 locations. It also offers various perks that can be unlocked over time, including 1 percent of dollars spent donated to local charities that promote healthy eating in schools.

"We are always looking for ways to connect with our guests, offer them the most outstanding experience in our stores and to give back to our communities — our sweetgreen rewards app has enabled us to do this in countless ways," Ru said. "We're excited to partner and continue to innovate with LevelUp on this new technology, and look forward to building additional features in the future."

He said the app has also helped with:

  • Speeding up lines: sweetgreen rewards is the fastest way to pay. The app is four seconds faster than credit cards and 20 seconds faster than cash, saving customers time at check-out.
  • High consumer rankings: sweetgreen rewards is ranked 4.8 stars in the App Store and 4.7 stars in Google Play. At launch, the iPhone app was ranked seventh in the food and drink app category.
  • Driving referrals: 12 percent of sweetgreen rewards users were referred by other sweetgreen rewards users.
  • Giving back: 1 percent of every purchase goes to local charities dedicated to educating children about healthy eating.

"Sweetgreen is a tech-savvy brand that understands the real value of LevelUp White-Label: the ability to take what customers think is awesome about your brand, and extend it through a mobile payment experience," said Seth Priebatsch, chief ninja at LevelUp. "With near five-star app store ratings and 18 percent of transactions coming from the app, it's pretty obvious sweetgreen guests love using an app with sweetgreen's core values baked right in."

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