Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. Kills Earnings Estimates

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) released the earnings results from its most recently completed quarter after closing bell tonight, posting diluted earnings of $4.15 per share on revenue of $1.08 billion, a 31.1% increase year over year. Analysts had been expecting the fast casual chain to post earnings per share of $3.82 on $1.06 billion in revenue.

Chipotle Mexican Grill’s key metrics

The company reported that comparable restaurant sales rose by 19.8%, while its restaurant level operating margin increased 200 basis points to 28.8%. Food costs increased by 70 basis points, rising to 34.3%. Chipotle said the drivers were higher prices for beef, dairy products and avocados. The company’s recent menu price increase partially offset those higher prices.

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The company also opened up 43 new restaurants during the quarter, bringing the total number of restaurants to 1,724.

For the nine months that ended on Sept. 30, Chipotle reported a 28.2% increase in revenue, which rose to $3.04 billion, and a 17% increase in comparable restaurant sales. Restaurant level operating margin rose 50 basis points to 27.4%, while net income increased by 30.8% to $324.1 million. Diluted earnings per share rose 29.8% to $10.29 per share. The fast casual chain opened 132 new restaurants in the first three quarters of the year.

Chipotle provides guidance

“Recent industry trends suggest the Chipotle model is resonating with customers, who are realizing there are better alternatives to traditional fast food,” said Chipotle Founder, Chairman and co-CEO Steve Ells in a statement. “We believe these trends will continue, and that’s good for our customers and our shareholders.”

For the full 2014, Chipotle Mexican Grill management said they expect to open between 180 and 195 new restaurants. They continue to expect comparable restaurant sales to increase in the mid-teams and the effective full year tax rate to be about 38.5%.

For next year, management expects to open between 190 and 205 new restaurants. They’re expecting comparable restaurant sales to increase by low to mid-single digits and an effective tax rate of about 39.1%.