Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG and CMG.B) today reported financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2009.

Highlights for the first quarter of 2009 as compared to the first quarter of 2008 include:

  • Revenue increased 16.1 percent to $354.5 million
  • Comparable restaurant sales increased 2.2 percent
  • Restaurant-level operating margin was 23.5 percent, an increase of 230 basis points
  • Net income was $25.4 million, an increase of 46.9 percent
  • Diluted earnings per share was $0.78 compared to $0.52 in 2008

“We are very pleased with our first quarter, particularly given the difficult operating environment,” says Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle. “Our performance is the direct result of our continued focus on making great-tasting food, from more socially responsible sources, and providing a great restaurant experience for our customers. We will continue this focus, while also looking to improve other elements of our business, including our marketing and the ways we communicate with our customers.”

“Our people culture is stronger than ever, and we’ve always believed this is an important driver of overall business performance,” says co-CEO Monty Moran. “With more top-performing managers and crew than ever before, we are setting new milestones with labor efficiencies, and we are seeing these gains without sacrificing customer service. In fact, despite the economic environment, we are seeing more positive customer service comments this year than we were last year.”

First quarter 2009 results

Revenue for the first quarter of 2009 increased 16.1 percent to $354.5 million from $305.3 million in the first quarter of 2008. Growth in revenue was attributable to new restaurants not in the comparable base and a 2.2 percent increase in comparable restaurant sales in the first quarter. Comparable restaurant sales growth was due to the impact of menu price increases implemented in the fourth quarter of 2008 partially offset by a decline in customer visits. Chipotle opened 26 new restaurants during the first quarter of 2009.

Restaurant-level operating margins increased to 23.5 percent in the first quarter of 2009 from 21.2 percent in the first quarter of 2008, primarily due to menu price increases and a decrease in marketing and promotional spending. The majority of our 2009 marketing and promotional spend is expected to occur during the second and third quarters with the launch of our new marketing campaign.

General and administrative expenses were $23.7 million in the first quarter of 2009, or 6.7 percent of revenue, compared to $21.6 million in the first quarter of 2008, or 7.1 percent of revenue. In the first quarter of 2009, general and administrative expenses declined as a percentage of revenue due primarily to the impact of menu price increases and cost control efforts.

Income from operations increased to $41.2 million in the first quarter of 2009, compared to $26.8 million in the first quarter of 2008.

Net income for the first quarter of 2009 was $25.4 million, or $0.78 per diluted share, compared to $17.3 million, or $0.52 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2008.

“We are pleased with the results for the quarter, though we continue to remain cautious about the economy and consumer spending as we look forward,” says Chief Financial Officer Jack Hartung. “Our already strong restaurant-level returns continue to improve, as does our cash flow from operations, allowing us to repurchase more than $50 million in market value of our Class B common stock since October while increasing our cash on-hand. We will continue our expansion plans and position ourselves to be in a stronger competitive position when we exit the recession than when it began.”


For the full year 2009, management expects the following:

  • Full year comparable restaurant sales increases in the low single digits
  • 120-130 new restaurant openings
  • An effective tax rate of approximately 38.5 percent
  • Diluted weighted average common shares outstanding of approximately 32.2 million
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