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America can’t seem to get enough of Chipotle and its breadless burrito bowl

Reuters/Fred Prouser
At Chipotle, the price of commodities has been eating into the bottom line.
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

The numbers: Satisfying. Chipotle Mexican Grill reported a profit of $79.6 million for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 30% higher than the previous year. Sales reached a record $844 million, marking a jump of over 20% from 2012. Chipotle shares jumped 11% in after-hours trading on the news.

The takeaway: The fast-growing popular Mexican food chain not only opened another 185 stores in 2013, but also managed to boost comparable restaurant sales—which only include stores that have been open for longer than a year—by nearly 6% for the year, and over 9% this past quarter. The company now has nearly 1,600 stores operating across the US, and plans to open another 180 to 195 over the next 12 months.

What’s interesting: To tortilla or not to tortilla. While Chipotle doesn’t break out item-specific sales, it seems that customers are showing some preference for Chipotle’s breadless burrito bowl. That’s what co-CEO Steve Ells suggested in an investor meeting earlier this month. After being asked whether burrito bowls were growing as a percentage of burrito sales, Ells responded: “I think a lot of our customers when we offered the burrito bowl found it to be a lighter option and a lot of people appreciate that.” 

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