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Chipotle pulling out all the stops to score Gen Z as customers and workers

Feb 2

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It’s 2024 which means many members of Generation Z are all grown up and starting to see adult problems — mostly money problems — creep into their lives. Now, one favorite Gen Z hot spot, Chipotle, is stepping up to try to help them out.

According to Credit Karma, zoomers are racking up credit card debt at a rate faster than any previous generation. Gen Z saw their overall debt rise by 19% from 2022 to 2023.

On top of that, an Intuit Survey says 66% of Gen Z say they’re not sure they’ll have enough money to be able to retire. Considering they were born between 1997 and 2012, they’ve got a bit of time, but it’s never too early to start thinking about it.

More aging, more problems, right?

So what can these trendsetting teens and young adults do to start on the right foot? Get a job.

Welcome to the workforce, Gen Z!

Investment bank Piper Sandler found in its “Semi-Annual Taking Stock With Teens Survey,” that 37% are holding down a part-time job.

Gen Zers looking to earn cash to snag Nike kicks or e.l.f. makeup — the top clothing and cosmetics brands per the Piper Sandler survey — need to find a job, one that speaks to them and their wallet.

Enter Chipotle. The Mexican grille is now trying to attract extra Gen Zers to join its burrito-building bunch.

Chipotle, which calculates that more than 73% of its restaurant employees are Gen Z, recently announced new benefits catering to the challenges facing zoomers.

  • First, Chipotle is offering a student loan retirement match program using SoFi’s Student Loan Verification Service.
  • Next, employees will also have access to what Chipotle calls a high-tech Visa card that can help them build credit.
  • Also, a new Employee Assistance Program will give workers access to mental health resources.

Chipotle is looking to hire 19,000 additional employees ahead of its busiest time of year, March to May, known in the biz as “burrito season.” Mark your calendars!

Chipotle’s aim to hire Gen Z should not come as a shock to anyone familiar with the brand. The company has been targeting this particular generation — which makes up about 40% of global consumers — through ads, viral videos and food campaigns for years.

For example, remember the “Boorito” event in October 2023 that saw college campus locations stay open until midnight on Halloween for the first time? And then there was the “Free-Pointer” text-to-win offer during last year’s March Madness — just to name a few examples.  

Chipotle also gained fame with the Gen Z crowd thanks to viral videos — specifically “mukbang” videos, which show people gorging on all different types of food.

Chipotle also partnered with one of TikTok’s top food reviewers, Keith Lee.

@keith_lee125

Replying to @chipotle #chipotlepartner The Keithadilla is in the chipotle app WITH the vinaigrette 💕 In my opinion it was the worth the wait 💕 #foodcritic

♬ original sound – Keith Lee

All of Chipotle’s hard work seems to be paying off as the brand has made it onto numerous lists of top-rated companies by Gen Z consumers.

Gen Z research and consulting firm dcdx ranked Chipotle on its list of the “Top 25 Most Magnetic Brands of 2023,” meaning companies that can attract young consumers while distancing themselves from competitors.

The firm says Chipotle is consistently a favorite brand of Gen Z’s for content creation.

But just like when your burrito needs more chicken, Chipotle has room to grow as it came in 22 out of 25 on dcdx’s list.

The No. 1 magnetic brand was McDonald’s, which has been praised in Gen Z circles for capitalizing on the Grimace Shake craze of ‘23 that saw TikTok users produce an eerie trend of taking the fun-loving purple mascot into thriller territory.

Furthermore, dcdx says when “brands show up for their communities, their communities show up for them,” while noting the Grimace trend had nothing to do with what McDonald’s did in the moment.

“2024 will be the year young people realize more than ever the power they hold in the balance between consumer and culture,” according to dcdx. “And it will be the brands that not only recognize this, but respect it, that will earn the loyalty of this elusive yet unwaveringly passionate generation.”

Now, dcdx is calling on Chipotle to think outside the box to remain a magnetic brand this year.

Perhaps the Gen Z benefits will do the trick, but some more free food offers probably wouldn’t hurt either. That goes for all generations.

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[SIMONE DEL ROSARIO]

FUN FACT, TAYLOR SWIFT AND I ARE BORN THE SAME MONTH, AND THIS ANTHEM IS NO LONGER FOR OUR GENERATION. THAT’S YOU GEN Z, YOU’RE ALL GROWN UP. 

AND SOON, YOU MAY BE RUNNING TO “CHIPOLTE” LIKE T-SWIFT’S BOYFRIEND CIRCA 2011. BUT INSTEAD OF SMASHING BURRITOS, YOU’RE SLINGING THEM. HERE’S WHY. 

GEN Z IS STARTING TO FEEL THOSE ADULT PROBLEMS CREEP INTO THEIR LIVES.

ACCORDING TO CREDIT KARMA – THESE ZOOMERS ARE RACKING UP CREDIT CARD DEBT AT A RATE FASTER THAN ANY PREVIOUS GENERATION –

AND GEN Z SAW THEIR OVERALL DEBT RISE BY 19% FROM 2022 TO 2023.

ON TOP OF THAT — AN INTUIT SURVEY SAYS 66% OF GEN Z SAY THEY’RE NOT SURE THEY’LL HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO BE ABLE TO RETIRE.

CONSIDERING YOU WERE BORN BETWEEN ’97 AND 2012, YOU’VE GOT A BIT OF TIME, BUT NEVER TOO EARLY TO START THINKING ABOUT IT.

MORE ADULTING – MORE PROBLEMS.

SO WHAT CAN THESE TRENDSETTING TEENS AND YOUNG ADULTS DO TO START ON THE RIGHT FOOT? 

WELCOME TO THE WORKFORCE GEN Z. WELL, NOT THE YOUNGEST OF YOU – YOU’RE TURNING 12 THIS YEAR. YOU CAN GO BACK TO WATCHING PERCY JACKSON.  

INVESTMENT BANK PIPER SANDLER FOUND IN ITS TAKING STOCK WITH TEENS SURVEY – 37% ARE HOLDING DOWN A PART-TIME JOB.   

GEN ZERS ARE LOOKING TO EARN CASH TO SNAG NIKE KICKS AND E.L.F. MAKEUP – THE TOP CLOTHING AND COSMETICS BRANDS PER THAT SURVEY. WE KNOW WHAT’S HIP. AND THOSE TEENS NEED A JOB THAT SPEAKS TO THEM AND THEIR WALLET.

ENTER CHIPOTLE.

THE MEXICAN GRILLE WHERE THE GUAC IS EXTRA – IS NOW TRYING TO ATTRACT EXTRA GEN ZERS TO JOIN THEIR BURRITO BUILDING BUNCH.

CHIPOTLE SAYS MORE THAN 73 PERCENT OF ITS RESTAURANT EMPLOYEES ARE ALREADY GEN Z. NOW THE RESTAURANT IS ANNOUNCING NEW BENEFITS CATERING TO ITS ZOOMERS’ NEEDS.

FIRST — CHIPOTLE IS OFFERING A STUDENT LOAN RETIREMENT MATCH PROGRAM USING SOFI’S STUDENT LOAN VERIFICATION SERVICE.

EMPLOYEES WILL ALSO HAVE ACCESS TO WHAT CHIPOTLE CALLS A HIGH-TECH VISA CARD THAT CAN HELP THEM BUILD CREDIT.

AND A NEW EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM WILL GIVE WORKERS ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES.

CHIPOTLE IS LOOKING TO HIRE 19,000 ADDITIONAL EMPLOYEES AHEAD OF ITS BUSIEST TIME OF YEAR – MARCH TO MAY – KNOWN IN THE BIZ AS “BURRITO SEASON.”

I BETTER PUT THAT IN MY CALENDAR.

CHIPOTLE’S AIM TO HIRE GEN Z SHOULD NOT COME AS A SHOCK TO ANYONE FAMILIAR WITH THE BRAND. THE GENERATION MAKES UP ABOUT 40 PERCENT OF GLOBAL CONSUMERS. CHIPOTLE’S BEEN TARGETING THEM THROUGH ADS AND FOOD CAMPAIGNS FOR YEARS – I.E. THE ANNUAL BOORITO HALLOWEEN EVENT THIS PAST OCTOBER – OR THE “FREE-POINTER” TEXT TO WIN OFFER DURING MARCH MADNESS.

CHIPOTLE ALSO GAINED FAME WITH THE GEN Z CROWD THANKS TO VIRAL VIDEOS – SPECIFICALLY MUKBANG VIDEOS.

YOU KNOW – THE SOCIAL VIDEOS THAT SHOW PEOPLE GORGING ON ALL DIFFERENT TYPES OF FOOD – YEAH, YOU KNOW THOSE VIDEOS.

CHIPOTLE EVEN PARTNERED WITH ONE OF TIKTOK’S TOP FOOD REVIEWERS – KEITH LEE!

ALL TO REACH GENERATION Z –

ALL OF CHIPOTLE’S HARD WORK SEEMS TO BE PAYING OFF – AS THE BRAND HAS MADE IT ONTO NUMEROUS LISTS OF TOP RATED COMPANIES BY THEIR TARGET AUDIENCE. 

DCDX – A GEN Z CONSULTING FIRM – HAD CHIPOTLE ON ITS 2023 LIST OF THE TOP 25 MOST MAGNETIC BRANDS. THAT’S COMPANIES THAT CAN ATTRACT YOUNG CONSUMERS WHILE DISTANCING THEMSELVES FROM COMPETITORS.

THE FIRM SAYS CHIPOTLE IS CONSISTENTLY A FAVORITE BRAND OF GEN Z’S FOR CONTENT CREATION.

BUT LIKE WHEN YOUR BURRITO NEEDS MORE CHICKEN – CHIPOTLE HAS ROOM TO GROW. IT’S NUMBER 22 ON THE TOP 25 LIST.

THE NUMBER ONE MAGNETIC BRAND – MCDONALD’S – GOT PRAISE FOR CAPITALIZING ON THE GRIMACE SHAKE CRAZE OF ‘23 – WHERE TIKTOKERS PRODUCED AN EERIE TREND – TAKING THE FUN-LOVING PURPLE MASCOT INTO THRILLER TERRITORY.

DCDX SAYS WHEN “BRANDS SHOW UP FOR THEIR COMMUNITIES, THEIR COMMUNITIES SHOW UP FOR THEM.” THOUGH THEY NOTE THE GRIMACE VIRAL TREND HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT MCDONALD’S DID IN THE MOMENT.

ACCORDING TO DCDX – “2024 WILL BE THE YEAR YOUNG PEOPLE REALIZE MORE THAN EVER THE POWER THEY HOLD IN THE BALANCE BETWEEN CONSUMER AND CULTURE. AND IT WILL BE THE BRANDS THAT NOT ONLY RECOGNIZE THIS, BUT RESPECT IT, THAT WILL EARN THE LOYALTY OF THIS ELUSIVE YET UNWAVERINGLY PASSIONATE GENERATION.”

DCDX IS CALLING ON CHIPOTLE TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX TO REMAIN A MAGNETIC BRAND THIS YEAR.

PERHAPS THESE GEN Z BENEFITS WILL DO THE TRICK.

MORE FREE FOOD OFFERS PROBABLY WOULDN’T HURT EITHER. I THINK THAT COUNTS FOR EVERY GENERATION.