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​​​​Bucks, Bites and Bake Club: How Milk Bar Builds Brand Loyalty

​​​​Bucks, Bites and Bake Club: How Milk Bar Builds Brand Loyalty

For a brand with big personality, look no further than Milk Bar. Founded by award-winning pastry chef Christina Tosi, who cut her teeth at New York’s Momofuku, Milk Bar is a dessert shop known for high-low flavor combinations—think cereal, milk, ice cream, and compost cookies. The company also popularized the now-ubiquitous naked layer cake with unfrosted sides. 

Today, Milk Bar is everywhere, with locations from Los Angeles to Toronto, pints in the grocery store freezer aisle, home delivery, and cookbooks on store shelves, plus an online shop that ships cookies and cakes nationwide. Still, the brand’s cool factor endures. Maybe it’s the neon pink logo or high-energy graphics, or the steadfast commitment to “spreading joy far and wide,” but whatever it is, everyone wants a piece of the pie. 

And with Milk Bar’s loyalty program, everyone gets one. When customers sign up for an account, they join the First Bite Club and automatically start earning points that they can redeem on merchandise. Here’s how. 

Milk Bar was founded by award-winning pastry chef Christina Tosi. Photo courtesy of Time.
Points for purchases—and engagement

At Milk Bar, every dollar you spend equals a point earned. That’s standard in the rewards world, but the company takes the program a step further, using the points system not only to encourage sales but to boost engagement, too. 

When customers sign up for an account, they also share their birthday and receive a special treat with their birthday order, plus 10 rewards points. When they refer a friend, they receive 100 points. When they leave a review on an item from the shop, they get 15 points. 

Milk Bar also makes it easy to earn rewards points across platforms, both in person and online. Customers can upload a receipt of their grocery store purchase and get points credit to their account. 

Milk Bar makes it easy to earn rewards points across platforms, both in person and online.
Living the Milk Bar life

Once customers have earned points, they can redeem them for a slice of Milk Bar pie (100 points), birthday truffles (100 points), or chocolate chip truffle crumb cakes (80 points). But they can bring the brand into their home and closet, too. At 275 points, a Milk Bar beanie carries the brand’s logo to the street, and cookbooks, including Every Cake Has a Story and Momofuku Milk Bar (both 500 points) will become part of a home cook’s repertoire. 

What’s especially genius about Milk Bar’s brand is that it’s not all about transactions—it’s about community. Tosi hosts Bake Club on Instagram Live, cooking recipes regularly along with her audience of more than half a million followers. Recipes live on the Milk Bar website, and fans follow along religiously. (The ultra-committed can also join the brand’s online baking course, which promises to make anyone a baker in 30 days.)

The result? Customers and followers alike feel like they are part of something joyful, genuine, accessible, and indulgent. Because at Milk Bar, they believe “everyone deserves to be celebrated.”

What’s especially genius about Milk Bar’s brand is that it’s not all about transactions—it’s about community.

​​​​Bucks, Bites and Bake Club: How Milk Bar Builds Brand Loyalty

​​​​Bucks, Bites and Bake Club: How Milk Bar Builds Brand Loyalty
by
Soma Amir
by
Doron Segal
by
Tomer Molovinsky
by
Olivia Terenzio
by
Jessica Buckley
by
Ashley Rodriguez
March 25, 2020

For a brand with big personality, look no further than Milk Bar. Founded by award-winning pastry chef Christina Tosi, who cut her teeth at New York’s Momofuku, Milk Bar is a dessert shop known for high-low flavor combinations—think cereal, milk, ice cream, and compost cookies. The company also popularized the now-ubiquitous naked layer cake with unfrosted sides. 

Today, Milk Bar is everywhere, with locations from Los Angeles to Toronto, pints in the grocery store freezer aisle, home delivery, and cookbooks on store shelves, plus an online shop that ships cookies and cakes nationwide. Still, the brand’s cool factor endures. Maybe it’s the neon pink logo or high-energy graphics, or the steadfast commitment to “spreading joy far and wide,” but whatever it is, everyone wants a piece of the pie. 

And with Milk Bar’s loyalty program, everyone gets one. When customers sign up for an account, they join the First Bite Club and automatically start earning points that they can redeem on merchandise. Here’s how. 

Milk Bar was founded by award-winning pastry chef Christina Tosi. Photo courtesy of Time.
Points for purchases—and engagement

At Milk Bar, every dollar you spend equals a point earned. That’s standard in the rewards world, but the company takes the program a step further, using the points system not only to encourage sales but to boost engagement, too. 

When customers sign up for an account, they also share their birthday and receive a special treat with their birthday order, plus 10 rewards points. When they refer a friend, they receive 100 points. When they leave a review on an item from the shop, they get 15 points. 

Milk Bar also makes it easy to earn rewards points across platforms, both in person and online. Customers can upload a receipt of their grocery store purchase and get points credit to their account. 

Milk Bar makes it easy to earn rewards points across platforms, both in person and online.
Living the Milk Bar life

Once customers have earned points, they can redeem them for a slice of Milk Bar pie (100 points), birthday truffles (100 points), or chocolate chip truffle crumb cakes (80 points). But they can bring the brand into their home and closet, too. At 275 points, a Milk Bar beanie carries the brand’s logo to the street, and cookbooks, including Every Cake Has a Story and Momofuku Milk Bar (both 500 points) will become part of a home cook’s repertoire. 

What’s especially genius about Milk Bar’s brand is that it’s not all about transactions—it’s about community. Tosi hosts Bake Club on Instagram Live, cooking recipes regularly along with her audience of more than half a million followers. Recipes live on the Milk Bar website, and fans follow along religiously. (The ultra-committed can also join the brand’s online baking course, which promises to make anyone a baker in 30 days.)

The result? Customers and followers alike feel like they are part of something joyful, genuine, accessible, and indulgent. Because at Milk Bar, they believe “everyone deserves to be celebrated.”

What’s especially genius about Milk Bar’s brand is that it’s not all about transactions—it’s about community.
Soma Amir

About the author

Doron Segal

About the author

Hey I'm Doron, the co-founder & CTO of Per Diem — a mobile app platform for restaurants. I'm also a dad and a husband. I love to travel and meet new people.I love creating things, and see people using the stuff I built.Prior to Per Diem I worked at Saildrone, OpenTable, Apple, Beats Music, Siemens.

Tomer Molovinsky

About the author

A second time founder with a passion for building products at the intersection of hospitality and technology. I've had the pleasure of launching reservation systems, mobile payment solutions, and loyalty programs at OpenTable and Resy, and witnessed how operators were losing a direct connection with their customers online. We built Per Diem to strengthen the relationships that businesses have with those customers, and to ensure that local businesses can thrive in today's economy.

Olivia Terenzio

About the author

Jessica Buckley

About the author

Ashley Rodriguez

About the author

Ashley is a freelance writer and podcast producer based in Madison, Wisconsin. She hosts a podcast called Boss Barista and writes an accompanying newsletter with full transcripts of each episode and articles about coffee and restaurant work. You can check out her work here (ashleyrodriguez.work/).

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