What Will Drive Chipotle’s Revenue in Q1 2019?



Analysts’ expectations

For the first quarter of 2019, analysts expect Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) to post revenue of $1.26 billion, which represents a rise of 9.7% from $1.15 billion in the first quarter of 2018. The opening of new restaurants in the last four quarters and positive SSSG (same-store sales growth) are likely to drive the company’s revenue during the quarter.

By the end of the fourth quarter of 2018, the company operated 2,452 restaurants compared to 2,397 restaurants at the end of the first quarter of 2018. The net addition of these 55 restaurants and the opening of new restaurants in the first quarter will contribute to the company’s revenue growth during the quarter.

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Same-store sales growth drivers

Chipotle is working on digitization and modernization of its restaurants, improvement in delivery service, menu innovation, and various marketing and promotional initiatives to drive its SSSG.

Last quarter, Chipotle’s online sales rose by 66% compared to growth of 48% in the third quarter of 2018. To further drive its online sales, the company has been making investments in the implementation of digital advancements.

Chipotle operated ~1,000 restaurants with digitized second make-lines by the end of 2018. The management plans to implement the facility in all restaurants by the end of 2019. Management also expects to have digital pickup shelves in all restaurants by mid-2019. To improve the speed of delivery, Chipotle is working on removing the friction between digital ordering and the pickup process. On March 12, the company also launched its loyalty program, Chipotle Rewards, on a national level. All these initiatives are forecasted to drive the company’s SSSG during the quarter.

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Peer comparisons

For the comparable quarter, analysts expect Shake Shack (SHAK) to post revenue growth of 28.3%, while McDonald’s (MCD) revenue is expected to fall by 4.1%.


Analysts project Chipotle to report revenue of $5.30 billion in 2019, which represents a rise of 9.0% from $4.86 billion in 2018. The company’s management is planning to open 140–155 new restaurants this year, while its SSSG is expected to be in the mid-single digit range.


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