In its December-ended quarter, the fast-casual burrito chain recorded comparable restaurant sales growth of 9.3%, well over the year-ago quarter's 3.8% increase, and far exceeding a 6.7% rise anticipated by estimates provider Consensus Metrix.
Fourth-quarter net income soared 29.8% to $79.6 million, or $2.53 a share, while revenue enjoyed a 20.7% year-over-year increase to $844.1 million. Earnings were as expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, but revenue beat estimates by $17.8 million.
Over fiscal 2013, the Denver-based business saw net income of $327.4 million, or $10.47 a share, an increase of 17.8% compared to 2012. Revenue jumped 17.7% to $3.21 billion. Analysts had expected earnings of $10.48 a share on $3.2 billion in revenue.
Looking ahead, management expects 2014 comparable restaurant sales in the low- to mid-single digit range, excluding menu price increases.
Explaining the success of a business like Chipotle is easy, said Jim Cramer on Friday. It's not about gross profit margins, cost-cutting or acquisitions. It's a lot simpler.
"It just sold a ton more burritos than you thought it could," wrote Jim Cramer in his premium-service Real Money column. "Chipotle is more than just natural and organic, even as its ethos is clearly food-chain oriented. It is all about promoting the best people and getting them to be able to move traffic along throughout the day in an orderly way so that more customers can be served at peak hours."