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Why Chipotle's eye-popping results show a long runway for the brand


Chipotle’s Q4 2023 results far exceeded expectations, as well as the industry at large, with Tuesday’s report showing a same-store sales increase of 8.4%. Revenue increased 15.4% to $2.5 billion, while restaurant level operating margin increased to 25.4%, or about 140 basis points.

The company also opened a record 121 new restaurants during the quarter, 110 of those in the Chipotlane model. The highlight of the company’s report, however, was its transaction gain of 7.4%. This is compared to a 1.6% decline across the limited-service segment in the quarter, according to data, as well as negative traffic recently reported by both Starbucks and McDonald’s.

If this all sounds familiar, it’s because Chipotle reported traffic increases of over 4% in Q3, compared to negative 4.2% industrywide. Notably, Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol said this time around the chain has shown strength across all income cohorts – a different tune than McDonald’s, which reported earlier this week it has experienced negative transactions from lower-income consumers.

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