By Lisa Baertlein
Feb 5 Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc
reported higher quarterly profit on Tuesday, despite higher
costs for beef and other ingredients that took a bite out of
The results from the popular burrito chain come as U.S.
restaurant companies virtually across the board are bracing for
higher food prices due to last summer's historic U.S. drought.
The shares of Chipotle, long an investor darling due to its
fast growth, rose 2.6 percent to $312.88 in after-hours trading.
In October, influential hedge fund manager David Einhorn
called the chain's stock an attractive "short," saying Chipotle
will face significant competition and additional costs.
The Denver-based chain, which in the autumn warned investors
its restaurant sales could slow in 2013, is ramping up
advertising and rolling out catering to bolster sales.
Its fourth-quarter net income rose to $61.4 million, or
$1.95 per share, from $57.5 million, or $1.81 cents per share, a
Food costs were 33.5 percent of revenue, an increase of 130
basis points, primarily driven by higher costs for beef
products, including steak and barbacoa.
Revenue increased 17.2 percent to $699.2 million. Sales at
restaurants open at least 13 months were up 3.8 percent on
increased traffic, as expected.
For 2013, Chipotle forecast flat to low single-digit
percentage sales growth at established restaurants, excluding
any menu price increases.
Analysts polled by Consensus Metrix expect 2013
same-restaurant sales to be up 3.8 percent for the full year.
The company expects to open 165 to 180 new units in 2013. It
added 183 new Chipotle restaurants last year, bringing its total
Chipotle's board also approved up to an additional $100
million for share buybacks.