The shares were down briefly in March, in line with the overall market, but have since recovered all their losses to hit new all-time highs in June.
The COVID-19 pandemic had spread rapidly in the U.S. and around the world, forcing governments to implement stringent lockdowns and movement control restrictions. Dine-in at food and beverage outlets was prohibited and only take-away and drive-through were allowed. Chipotle, however, was an exception. The company only closed around 100 restaurants back in March, and these are the ones located within malls and shopping centers. The closures represented just 3.8% of the company's total store count of 2,638 as of March 31.
There's more good news. Brian Niccol, CEO of Chipotle, mentioned in the company's earnings call that the majority of the company's restaurants are open for to-go orders. The company had the foresight to put its digital platform in place over the last two years and is now successfully leveraging on it to generate sales. For the first quarter, digital sales were up an impressive 81% year over year and made up 26% of total sales.
It appears that Chipotle has managed to successfully navigate the pandemic by relying on its digital platform. The company also announced a partnership with Grubhub (NYSE:GRUB) to expand its delivery footprint in the United States. Customers can use make use of the Grubhub app to order from Chipotle for fast and efficient delivery.
These savvy initiatives will surely bode well for the company's long-term growth. Chipotle has demonstrated both resilience and resourcefulness in ensuring that its business operations are minimally affected by the coronavirus, and investors have a lot to cheer about as the company continues to report impressive numbers.