Zoomers Really Love Them Some Chipotle

The restaurant’s investment in influencer marketing has given it wide, cross-cultural appeal among Gen Z.

Feel free to call it a comeback: Chipotle is popular with young people again.

Zoomers, members of the illustrious Gen Z, are 70 percent more likely to eat at Chipotle versus any other age demographic, according to a new study from online purchase data platform Attain.

“Chipotle is winning with Gen Z because Chipotle has the right offering [a healthier fast food option], at the right price point and they tend to reach Gen Z where they live — on social,” says Jason Goldberg, Chief Commerce Strategy Officer at Publicis.

The findings are surprising considering that Chipotle first rose to prominence among Millennials, the previous generation, who flocked to the store for its affordable and filling burritos and bowls. The food was a staple of the Millennial college student diet at campuses across the nation.

Despite friction from some consumers on portion sizes, Chipotle reported first quarter revenues that topped Wall Street expectations, with the burrito maker adding that it saw a 5.4% jump with in-store traffic. Most recently, the restaurant chain playfully poked fun of its own customers — to much fanfare — who were recording Chipotle employees in an effort to garner larger portions. 

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Chipotle’s popularity among young consumers is a testament to its omnichannel marketing strategy, which often highlights the quality of its ingredients. 

It’s also a testament to the power of social media marketing, especially among younger consumers. Chipotle has proven itself adept at generating buzz on social media, particularly through its influencer marketing initiatives. The restaurant has invested in influencer marketing for years, such as its #ChipotleLidFlip campaign in 2019 with multi-platform creator David Dobrik; the Chipotle Creator Class challenge in 2021, in which creators competed for the privilege to be a Chipotle influencer; to its more recent partnerships with TikTokkers Alexis Frost and Keith Lee.

These efforts appear to have been fruitful, as the average Zoomer Chipotle customer spends nearly $20 per order and eats at the restaurant at least once every two months, according to Attain data. The average Chipotle customer tends to be middle income, earning between $50,000 and $100,000 per year, and the restaurant over-indexes among non-white (Asian, Black and Hispanic) consumers, Attain also finds.

Chipotle’s popularity with Zoomers has also resulted in significant organic social reach, such as this TikTok video of a woman baking her Chipotle burrito into a prosciutto-wrapped beef Wellington from the front seat of her car.

This cross-cultural appeal is likely due to the customization options Chipotle provides. Customers are able to construct their burritos and bowls to their exact specifications, making it the perfect destination whether you’re a protein-hungry bodybuilder or a staunch vegan.

“Chipotle has a nice intersection between affordability and more healthful options that resonates well with Gen Z,” Goldberg says. “Everything's made to order, Chipotle can accommodate you.”

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