Chipotle outlets trading at record levels after rip-roaring start to 2015

Chipotle

Restaurant chain Chipotle revealed this week that average sales volumes from its restaurants are now running at record levels.

The company said that business since the turn of the year has been stronger than ever before, with sales per restaurant working out at $2.5m (£1.7m).

It opened 49 new restaurants during the first three months of the year, bringing its total restaurant count to 1,831.

Revenue for the quarter was $1.09 billion (£730m), up 20% from the first quarter of 2014. The growth in revenue was driven by new restaurants not in the comparable base and a 10% increase in comparable restaurant sales.

“We are very proud of our start to 2015, as our average sales volumes reached a record $2.5m per restaurant,” said Steve Ells, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle. “We attribute this success to our unique food culture and people culture, which are the driving forces to create a new fast food model.”

Ells said the growth had also been helped by a store-wide menu price increase that was fully rolled out during the second quarter of 2014, and to a lesser extent by increased traffic.

The sales increase helped push restaurant level operating margin up to 27.5% for the quarter, an increase of 160 basis points compared with the same period last year. Net profit increased by 48% to $123m (£82m).

Chipotle is targeting between 190 and 205 new restaurant openings this year.

The business was founded 20 years ago by Ells who believed that food served fast did not have to be a typical fast food experience.

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