Chipotle’s Q1 earnings results beat every estimate and were nothing short of impressive, particularly given a continued uncertain economic backdrop. While its comp growth of 10.9% is perhaps no surprise lapping last year’s omicron variant, the 4% jump in traffic is notable as prices remain about 10% higher year-over-year and as consumers grow increasingly anxious about the macro environment.
Chipotle’s quarter was buoyed by its operational improvements yielded from what it calls Project Square One. The program was put into place last summer to bring its workforce up to speed after two years of abnormally high, pandemic-induced turnover. Last July, Chipotle’s Chief Restaurant Officer Scott Boatwright said Project Square One is essentially about focusing on the little things – moving, listening, etc. – that add up during a peak volume window, making sure that staffing is maximized at the right time and, ideally, reducing those aforementioned turnover rates.