Industry News | February 16, 2007

Chipotle's Q4 Results Beat Expectations

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Natural-food burrito chain Chipotle's Mexican Grill finished its first year as a public company by beating forecasts with a more-than-doubling of Q4 profit.

Net income rose to $10.8 million ($0.33/share) from $4.3 million ($0.16/share) a year earlier, ahead of the Street expectation of $0.28. Full-year EPS were $1.28. Revenue spiked 27 percent to $219.7 million from $173.3 million, beating analyst forecasts of $216.4 million. Same-store sales were up 10.1 percent. Operating margins rose 170 basis points to 20.3 percent on higher average restaurant sales and menu-price increases for the company's naturally raised chicken, beef, and pork offerings.

This year, Chipotle plans to add 95 to 105 new restaurants to its 570. Margins might be pressured in the short term by higher avocado prices resulting from a cold snap in California and by higher grain prices, which are elevating chicken prices.

Chipotle's was spun off last year by McDonald's, and its share price has nearly tripled since the IPO. It is trading at about 39 times analysts' 2007 earnings estimate versus a multiple of 20 times for its rivals. Chipotle shares rose 4.4 percent to $64.10 in AH trading after the report.

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