DENVER – The chips are up at Chipotle Mexican Grill which reported better-than-expected profit and sales for the first quarter.

Net income for the first quarter ended March 31, 2018, was $59.4 million, or $2.13 per diluted share, compared with $46.1 million, or $1.60 per diluted share reported in the year-ago quarter.

Revenue for the quarter advanced 7.4 percent to $1.15 billion compared with $1.07 billion reported in the first quarter of 2017.

Chipotle opened 35 new restaurants and reported a comparable restaurant sales increase of 2.2 percent.

Efforts to regain consumers’ trust after a series of food safety problems in addition to the hiring of former Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol to lead Chipotle appear to be showing results. Shares in the company jumped as much as 20 percent late on April 25 as the company’s results beat analysts’ projections.

“Chipotle is a purpose driven brand with loyal customers, passionate employees, industry-leading economic potential, along with incredible brand equity, and craveable food with integrity, all built over the last 25 years,” Niccol said in a statement. “While the company made notable progress during the quarter, I firmly believe we can accelerate that progress in the future.” 

Niccol said executing fundamentals while introducing consumer-meaningful innovation across the business will propel Chipotle along a path to greater performance supported by a structure and organization built for creativity, action and accountability.

“Finally, Chipotle will have a culture that is centered on running great restaurants, putting the customer first, innovating for today and tomorrow, supporting each other, and delivering on commitments,” Niccol said. “The future will be meaningful at Chipotle.”