On a good day for the stock exchange, Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) stock is having indigestion after hours.
That's because the fast-casual restaurant operator posted fourth-quarter fiscal 2020 results that missed analyst expectations for profitability. On the bottom line for the quarter, Chipotle earned $99.3 million on a non-GAAP (adjusted) basis, or $3.48 per share. That was better than the $81 million of Q4 2019, but it fell short of the $3.73 per share that analysts collectively expected.
Chipotle essentially met the average prognosticator estimate for $1.6 billion in revenue. That was on the back of comparable-restaurant sales that rose 5.7%.
In spite of the earnings miss, Chipotle didn't do a bad job at all of plowing through the coronavirus pandemic. It smartly concentrated on digital sales, which consequently rose by 177% to comprise 49% of total sales.
CEO Brian Niccol noted, "Expanding access and convenience through our digital ecosystem has kept the Chipotle brand relevant."
Due to the continued uncertainty about the coronavirus vaccine and its potential effect on the hard-hit restaurant business, Chipotle did not proffer same-restaurant sales guidance for 2021. It did say it aims to open roughly 200 new restaurants during the year.
The company is doing better than many of its food service peers. Still, as the perceived leader in the fast-casual category, Chipotle's performance expectations are high. In post-market trading on Tuesday, investors indicated their displeasure by pushing the company's share price down by more than 3%; by contrast, the S&P 500 closed the regular trading day up by 1.4%.