NEWPORT BEACH, CALIF. — The launch of Lifestyle Bowls at Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. in the recent quarter “resonated with consumers in a big way,” said Brian R. Niccol, chief executive officer. The menu options are geared toward popular diets such as Whole30, paleo, keto, vegan and vegetarian and contain ingredients already used in the burrito chain’s restaurants.
Mr. Niccol said the company will continue to test new menu items and ingredients.
“One of our key criteria, in order to bring in a new form or an all-new ingredient, is it can’t have an impact on throughout,” Mr. Niccol said during the company’s April 24 earnings call. “Consumers got to love it, it’s got to work financially, but it also has to work for our operating process. And so as a result, it’s going to take a little bit longer time to bring things to market that are either a change in process or require new equipment or a new form, versus it’s much easier to do things like a new ingredient or introduce people to a new way or a new Lifestyle Bowl, like we did in the first quarter. But the plan is to do both.”
For the first quarter ended March 31, Chipotle Mexican Grill had net income of $88,132,000, equal to $3.18 per share on the common stock, up 48% from $59,446,000, or $2.13 per share, in the prior-year period. Excluding the impact of restaurant asset impairment, corporate restructuring and certain other costs in the current quarter, adjusted net income increased 61% to $95,489,000, equal to adjusted diluted earnings per share of $3.40.
Revenue totaled $1,308,217,000, up 14% from $1,148,397,000. Comparable restaurant sales increased 9.9%.
Digital sales grew 101% and accounted for nearly 16% of sales for the quarter.
“We are pleased to be averaging more than 1 million digital transactions per week,” Mr. Niccol said. “Delivery remains a key driver of our digital growth, given enhanced capabilities on our app and web site as well as our expanded reach.”
For the full year, management expects to generate mid- to high-single-digit comparable sales restaurant growth and add 140 to 155 new restaurants.
“The first quarter’s strong results were driven by the same strategic focus areas that we’ve talked about for several quarters now: being culturally relevant and increasing brand engagement and visibility, digitizing and modernizing the restaurant experience, great hospitality and throughput and of course, enhancing our powerful economic model, all while building a great culture of accountability and creativity,” Mr. Niccol said.
Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill have gained as much as 63% so far this year; however, the company’s stock eased more than 6% on April 25, after the company revealed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission it had received a subpoena on April 18 requesting information related to foodborne illness incidents at Chipotle restaurants in California, Massachusetts, Virginia and Ohio in 2017 and 2018. The most recent incident occurred this past August, when an outbreak of Clostridium perfringens sickened 647 people who ate at a Chipotle Mexican Grill in Powell, Ohio.