Chipotle sales, new restaurants drive 1Q earnings

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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DENVER – New restaurants and a 12 percent increase in comparable restaurant sales propelled Chipotle Mexican Grill’s earnings for the first quarter ended March 31.

Net income for the first quarter was $62.7 million or $1.97 per diluted share, compared to $46.6 million, or $1.46 per diluted share in 2011.

Revenue for the quarter was $640.6 million, an increase of 25.8 percent from the comparable year-ago period. New restaurants not in the comparable base and growth in comparable restaurant sales contributed to the results, the company said. Increased traffic and menu price increases implemented in 2010 were key drivers for comparable restaurant sales growth, according to the company.

The company opened 32 new restaurants during the quarter bringing the total restaurant count to 1,262.

“We're delighted that our continuing efforts to serve the very best food made from high-quality ingredients raised with respect for the animals, the environment and the farmers are resonating with our customers, allowing us to deliver double digit comps and record earnings during the quarter,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-chief executive officer of Chipotle.

Chipotle’s forecast for the full year 2012 includes 155 to 165 new restaurant openings and mid-single digit comparable restaurant sales growth. The company said it also expects food inflation to be in mid-single digits, and an effective tax rate of roughly 39 percent.

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