Are you a man between the ages of 18 and 28? Do you eat Chipotle five to seven times per week? Congratulations. You are officially a “Chipotle Boy.”

The word on the street is that “Chipotle Boys” is an emerging label for young professionals who frequently dine at Chipotle Mexican Grill. These individuals are known for their routine visits to the fast-casual chain, often prioritizing convenience, speed, ingredient transparency, and nutritional value over variety.

NYC ChipotleChipotle

A typical Chipotle Boy can be found standing in line during the lunch rush, dressed in business attire with his eyes glued to his phone. But why Chipotle?

The appeal of Chipotle

Chipotle Boys are a common sight at one Midtown Manhattan location Bustle writer Madeline Howard recently visited during rush hour. Here, Howard found that the overlap between gym bros and Chipotle Boys was strong—and understandably so. 

Chipotle offers a range of lifestyle-optimized offerings and makes it easy to nail your “macros”—or the correct balance of macronutrients such as carbs, fat, and protein. Plus, Chipotle’s customizable options become even more appealing as fast-food becomes increasingly expensive.

Chipotle’s popularity among this demographic can be attributed to its “made-from-scratch” approach, which appeals to those seeking healthier fast-food options. Unlike many fast-food chains, Chipotle emphasizes fresh, whole ingredients, which has resonated with consumers looking for nutritious meals on the go. 

VegNews.ChipotleInteriorChipotle

RELATED: How to Order Vegan at Chipotle: The Complete Guide

And the company’s focus on quality and transparency has driven significant growth, with its revenue increasing 14.3 percent to $9.9 billion in 2023, doubling the growth rate of some competitors. 

“2023 was an outstanding year where we delivered strong transaction growth driven by throughput and menu innovation,” Brian Niccol, Chairman and CEO of Chipotle, said. 

“I am more confident than ever that we have the right people and the right strategy to achieve our long-term growth goals of reaching 7,000 restaurants in North America,” Niccol said. 

This growth highlights Chipotle’s success in capturing the market of health-conscious, time-strapped individuals. Or “Chipotle Boys,” if you will.

Where are all the vegan “Chipotle Boys”?

But where are all the vegan Chipotle Boys? Chances are, they’re standing right there in line with the rest of the lunch crowd. 

And they’re likely ordering rice, vegetables, double black beans (for the vegan gym boys), and Sofritas—a housemade option Chipotle introduced in 2014. 

Back then, Chipotle was a trailblazer in offering such a hearty plant-based protein. Made from organic tofu spiced with poblano pepper, cumin, and chipotle chiles, Sofritas quickly became a popular choice. By 2018, Chipotle had sold 7.5 million pounds of Sofritas.

VegNews.ChipotleVegan.headerChipotle

RELATED: Vegan Restaurant News of the Week: Robot-Made Meatless Meals, “Big Macs” in Texas, and More

Building on this success, in 2019, the fast-casual chain introduced the Vegan Bowl as part of its preconfigured Lifestyle Bowls menu. In 2023, the chain expanded this menu with The Veggie Full Bowl and the Plant-Powered Bowl, both created to serve its protein-seeking customers who also want eco-friendlier alternatives to chicken and steak

“We’ve found that many people are increasingly looking for plant-based protein options, so we wanted to make it easy for our customers with digital shortcuts for these bowls,” Chris Brandt, Chief Marketing Officer of Chipotle, said at the time.

“Since introducing Sofritas five years ago, Chipotle has provided flavorful options for every lifestyle, while simultaneously doing something good for the planet,” Brandt said. 

It’s no secret that these plant-based options were specifically created for the “Chipotle Boys” age demographic—which spans Gen Z and younger millennials—who are increasingly flexitarian, opting to eat at least one meatless meal every week if not much more. 

In 2021, Chipotle also offered another protein option, its own plant-based chorizo made from a base of pea protein that was flavored with ancho chilies and chipotle peppers, tomato paste, crushed garlic, Spanish smoked paprika, and extra virgin olive oil.

VegNews.ChipotleVeganChorizoChipotle

The chain has since discontinued the vegan meat but has not stopped giving vegan Chipotle Boys easy plant-based options worth the lunch hour wait.   

Currently, the Chipotle menu is easy to configure to serve the needs of vegan Chipotle Boys—and girls, really—with customizable bowls, salads, and burritos galore. The chain’s investment in mushroom meat company Meati Foods signals that more meatless options might be on the way. 

Furthermore, Chipotle’s founder and former CEO, Steve Ells, recently opened Kernel, a new concept in New York City. This fully plant-based chain features a simple, pared down menu and robot-powered kitchen that keeps food costs down. 

Might vegan “Kernel Boys” be the next big thing? 

For more plant-based stories like this, read:
Share this

The 20 Best Vegan Deals for Amazon Prime Day (July 16 + 17!)

FIND OUT MORE