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Millennials and avocados are key to Chipotle’s comeback

Online orders account for almost a fifth of sales at Chipotle. Above, the restaurant's workers fill orders.

Online orders account for almost a fifth of sales at Chipotle. Above, the restaurant's workers fill orders. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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Chipotle has had a good year — its stock price is just under $850, nearly double what it was in January. The recipe for the chain’s recent success?

“Three words: avocados, millennials and digitizing,” said public relations specialist Gene Grabowski.

Online orders now account for almost 20% of sales at the famously long-lined restaurant, thanks to a well-designed app with delivery options and a loyalty program. That has endeared Chipotle to millennials, according to Alex Susskind at Cornell University. 

“Figuring out how to reach them through their phones made a really big difference for them,” he said.

Chipotle has also stepped up social media efforts to get even younger customers, including on the newly popular TikTok app, with something called the #GuacDance challenge.

Which brings us to record per capita consumption of avocados last year. And when you’re a restaurant selling guacamole, that can add up to a lot of green.

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