Chipotle full-year, quarterly earnings advance

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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DENVER – Increased traffic and higher menu prices helped offset food price increases to boost fourth quarter and full-year earnings for Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.

Fourth quarter 2011 revenues were $596.7 million, up 23.7 percent over the prior year period. The company attributed revenue growth to new restaurants and an 11.1 percent advance in comparable restaurant sales. Increased traffic in the quarter and menu price increases implemented between March and August drove comparable restaurant sales growth, the company said.

Net income in the fourth quarter increased 23.7 percent to $57.5 million, or 1.81 per diluted share up from $46.4 million or $1.47 per diluted share in 2010. Restaurant level operating margin was 26.1 percent, an increase of 20 basis point, according to the company.

"During 2011, we remained focused on our mission to change the way the world thinks about and eats fast food, while continuing to strengthen our people culture and our unit economic model,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-chief executive officer of Chipotle.

Full-year revenues in 2011 reached $2.27 billion, a 23.6 percent increase from the year-ago period. Net income for the full year of 2011 was $214.9 million, or $6.76 per diluted share, compared to $179.0 million, or $5.64 per diluted share, for 2010. The company said restaurant level operating margin eased 70 basis points to 26 percent. The decrease was attributed to higher food costs, but partially offset by the impact of leverage from higher restaurant sales, the company said.

For the full year, Chipotle opened 150 new restaurants including one ShopHouse, the company's Southeast Asian concept, and one Chipotle in London, bringing the total restaurant count to 1,230.

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