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Chipotle: Digital Sales Could Boost Its Revenues in 2019

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First-quarter digital sales

In the first quarter, Chipotle Mexican Grill’s (CMG) digital sales grew 101% year-over-year to form 15.7% of the company’s total sales. Through the implementation of digital advancements like delivery, digitized second make-lines, catering, mobile order pickup shelves, and Chipotle Rewards, the company has been able to enhance customers’ experience and improve the convenience, which led to a rise in the company’s digital sales.

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Analysts’ revenue estimates for 2019

Analysts expect Chipotle to report revenues of $5.42 billion in 2019—a rise of 11.5% from $4.86 billion in 2018. Opening new restaurants and positive SSSG (same-store sales growth) will likely drive the company’s revenues in 2019. Chipotle’s management expects to open 140–155 new restaurants in 2019. The company’s SSSG is expected to be in the mid to high-single digits.

By the end of the first quarter, Chipotle introduced mobile order pickup shelves in all of the relevant restaurants. The company operated digitized make-lines in 1,300 restaurants. Chipotle plans to have the digital make-up line in all of the suitable restaurants by the end of this year. The company plans to test Chipotlanes in 2019. Chipotlanes allows customers to pick up digital orders without getting out of their cars.

On March 12, Chipotle launched its loyalty program “Chipotle Rewards.” The program garnered ~3 million members by the end of the first quarter. Last fall, Chipotle launched “For Real” advertising, which was followed up with the “Behind the Foil” campaign in February. Chipotle’s management expects its marketing and promotional budget to be 3.0% of the total revenues in 2019—compared to 2.9% in 2018. Introducing new menu items will likely drive the company’s SSSG in 2019.

Peer comparisons

For the same period, analysts expect Shake Shack (SHAK) to post revenue growth of 27.4%. McDonald’s (MCD) revenue growth is expected to remain flat.

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