Chipotle (NYSE: CMG ) reported third-quarter earnings after the market closed today and, so far, investors like what they see, with shares up 1.5% after hours. Revenue increased 18% in the quarter, to $826.9 million, and net income was up 15.3%, to $83.4 million, or $2.66 per share.
Wall Street analysts were looking for $818 million in revenue, and $2.77 per share in earnings, so the top line was strong, while earnings were a bit disappointing. Investors have been concerned about rising food costs impacting earnings, and that manifested this quarter, as food costs rose to 100 basis points (or 1%), to 33.6% of revenue.
Comparable restaurant sales, a closely watched measure for any restaurant chain, were up 6.2% from a year ago, which is a solid, but not spectacular, rate. Next quarter, management expects comparable restaurant sales to be mid-single digits again, but growth is expected to fall to low single digits next year.
Chipotle is still a strong growth stock, with another 180 to 195 stores expected next year -- this is one reason investors appear willing to look past the earnings miss. Shares do trade at 34 times next year's earnings estimates, so while these are delicious results for any company, the expectations are already high for Chipotle.
The restaurant business has gone global
Chipotle has only recently began dipping its toes in international markets, but this is a huge growth market for more restaurant chains. The Motley Fool's free report, "3 American Companies Set to Dominate the World," shows you two of the restaurants that are tapping international markets, and another stock that recently knocked quarterly results out of the park. Click here to get your free copy before it's gone.