But once they simmer down a bit, they'll find a company being positioned to win in the era of fast food meets digital. And that's a good place to be.
"Where I think the puck is headed is giving people more access and giving them more convenience. It's that simple. The more access we can give to people, with that comes faster speed to their food and I think we continue to win. Then you layer on top of that a rewards program and now you can engage with them at a different level," Niccol told TheStreet. "
Added Niccol, "As you look out over the next year or two, you will see a Chipotle where you can order your food digitally, walk in and then walk out instantly. You can go into our app and select delivery. You can go into Doordash and select delivery. I think we will be one of the faster solutions."
"The biggest takeaway from the call was management's view about the multi-billion dollar digital sales opportunity," RBC Capital Markets analyst David Palmer said.
Chipotle shares shed 7% over the past five sessions following Niccol's presentation with analysts on Wednesday.
The company laid out plans to close 65 restaurants, which will lead to restructuring costs of about $115 million to $135 million. It also acknowledged it will take some time to build a pipeline of innovative new products. For years, Chipotle avoided adding new products to its menu like most fast-food chains (see Niccol's former employer Yum! Brands (YUM - Get Report) ) do to drive sales.
"Commentary did not suggest management expects an imminent inflection," said Goldman Sachs analyst Karen Holthouse. The analyst added that's "important to be patient" as Chipotle is in the early stages of its turnaround.