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Sozzi: 3 Mysterious Things Now Happening at Chipotle

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Guess what? Chipotle's (CMG - Get Report) stock has surged 13% in the past month, completely under the radar of those not named me. I think the stock's meaty gain is a byproduct of a continuation of very strong restaurant traffic around the clock following a pre-summer menu price increase. Mr. Market appears to be positioning for a blowout second quarter from Chipotle, and it's hard to dispute that notion.

However, I have found three mysterious things now underway at Chipotle, two of which have short- and long-term stock price implications and the other is just a great conversation piece.

As the Starbucks (SBUX) cup art revolution explodes on Tumblr and Instagram (watch more on that amazingness here) due to efforts from creative patrons, Chipotle has joined the movement of sprucing up its packaging. In a program called "Cultivate Things," Chipotle paper bags and cups have positive quotes and short stories on them to entertain customers in and out of the restaurant. What perfect marketing. Chipotle surely has to know positive quotes from one its bags will be photographed and shared on social media, subliminally tempting those scrolling on an Apple (AAPL) device headed home hungry from work.

Say hello to the life-changing new Chipotle bag and cup.

In some markets, Chipotle is currently running an aggressive buy-one-get-one-free burrito, burrito bowl, or salad promotion until July 15. Alongside this component is a promotion for free chips and guacamole with a purchase. Remember, all of this lures in new and previous customers just as the company has raised prices. Oh, you are so sly Chipotle!

Over a month left to snag this hot deal.

When a person imagines Chipotle he probably thinks of a free-standing location in a shopping center. That is changing, with Chipotle starting to venture into malls to shake up the tired food court scene dominated by McDonald's (MCD - Get Report) and Yum Brands' (YUM) Taco Bell. A mall-based Chipotle recently opened in Dallas' North Park Center with a menu board that has a dedicated white section (so it sticks out) for Chipotle's new catering service (coming to New York).

Didn't catch any new secret items on the menu.  Sad face.

Before I go, did you read up on Chipotle's annual "Cultivate Festival" held over the past weekend. Give it a Google search. I have the impression the company could be imagining some new products.

-- By Brian Sozzi CEO of Belus Capital Advisors, analyst to TheStreet.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

At the time of publication, Sozzi had no positions in the stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

Brian Sozzi is the CEO and Chief Equities Strategist of Belus Capital Advisors. He is responsible for developing and managing an equities portfolio of mid- and large-cap positions, in addition to leading the firm's digital content initiatives. He is also a personal finance columnist for Men's Health magazine.

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