Chipotle CEO: Digital experience during coronavirus lockdowns a ‘key driver’ of success
Chipotle Mexican Grill Chairman and CEO Brian Niccol on increasing drive-thru locations and digital infrastructure to meet increasing demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
Chipotle has benefited from a surge in to-go sales during the pandemic as consumers look for convenient food. The Newport Beach, Calif.-based burrito chain said Wednesday that same-store sales grew 8.3% in its third quarter over last year, exceeding the 7.3% increase analysts expected. Digital transactions, which tripled, accounted for nearly half the company's revenue.
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"That was a major shift," Chief Financial Officer Jack Hartung said in an interview.
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Still, costs including restructuring and legal expenses weighed on profits. Chipotle's earnings, on net income of $80 million, were $2.82 a share, down from $3.47 during last year's period. Revenue in the quarter was $1.6 billion.
CHIPOTLE LAUNCHES FREE GUACAMOLE CONTEST, FOCUSES ON DIGITAL ORDERS
Chipotle's shares fell 4% to $1,307 in aftermarket trading. The stock was up 63% year-to-date as of Wednesday's close. Chipotle declined to give guidance for same-store sales and new openings for its fiscal year, citing ongoing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.
Delivery expenses are weighing on Chipotle and other restaurants during the pandemic as more sales happen outside of dining rooms. Delivery companies often charge double-digit commissions on food sales to handle those orders, prompting many restaurants to encourage customers to pick up their meals.