DENVER In the midst of one of the harshest economic environments for restaurant companies, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. posted double-digit increases in sales and profit for the third quarter on new restaurant openings, menu price increases, and labor and other operating efficiencies.
The company, which operates 911 restaurants, said it opened 26 new restaurants during the quarter ended Sept. 30, and has completed 76 new openings so far this year. It is on track to open a total of between 120 and 130 locations in 2009. The new additions helped increase third-quarter sales 14.6 percent to $1.13 billion. Same-store sales rose 2.7 percent, and reflected increased menu pricing that helped offset reduced guest traffic, Chipotle said.
The company said it also worked to contain costs. Third-quarter restaurant level operating margin hit 25.5 percent, up 410 basis points, or 4.1 percent, from the same quarter last year. As a percent of sales, Chipotle was able to reduce food, labor, operating, and general and administrative costs.
“What pleases me most É is that most of this success is the result of the hard work of our restaurant managers and crew, who by their increasingly efficient operation of our restaurants have allowed Chipotle to achieve some of the best margins in the restaurant industry, while creating exceptional restaurant experiences for our guests,” said Monty Moran, Chipotle's co-chief executive.
Third-quarter net income increased 77 percent to $34.5 million, or $1.08 per share, Chipotle reported. In last year's third quarter, the company posted net income of $19.5 million, or 59 cents per share.
Contact Sarah E. Lockyer at [email protected] .