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Why Analysts Expect Chipotle’s Revenue to Rise in Q4 2018

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Jan. 30 2019, Published 11:04 a.m. ET

Analysts’ estimates

For the fourth quarter of 2018, analysts expect Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) to post revenue of $1.19 billion, a rise of 7.4% from $1.11 billion in the corresponding quarter of 2017. This revenue growth will likely be driven by the net addition of restaurants in the last four quarters and positive SSSG (same-store sales growth).

For 2018, Chipotle’s management expects its SSSG to be in the low to mid-single digits. Management also hopes to open new restaurants at the lower end of the previously announced range of 130–150 units.

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Revenue drivers

In the first three quarters of 2018, Chipotle increased its restaurant count by 55 units. These new restaurants, along with the restaurants it opened in the fourth quarter, are expected to drive its revenue.

To drive its SSSG, Chipotle is focusing on implementing technological advancements, innovative menu items, and various marketing and promotional initiatives.

Chipotle had implemented a digitized second make line in 750 restaurants and digital pickup shelves in 350 restaurants by the end of the third quarter. These initiatives are expected to lower friction and increase the speed of service, thus enhancing the customer experience at Chipotle’s restaurants.

In the previous quarter, Chipotle partnered with DoorDash to launch a direct delivery service, which lets customers request delivery without leaving Chipotle’s website or app.

In late September, Chipotle launched its For Real marketing campaign, which was focused on Chipotle’s uniqueness. The company ran advertisements on national TV until the middle of November, while the messaging on digital and social channels ran throughout 2018. All these initiatives are expected to have driven the company’s SSSG in the fourth quarter.

Peer comparison

During the same period, Shake Shack (SHAK) is expected to post a revenue rise of 23.6%, while McDonald’s (MCD) revenue is expected to fall 3.3%.

Next, we’ll look at analysts’ EPS expectations for the company in the fourth quarter.

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