Following a gloomy trading day for stocks, Chipotle (CMG -0.71%) investors got a burrito plate loaded with good news. The restauranteur's shares popped more than 3% higher after hours on Tuesday, following the post-market release of its latest quarterly results.  

Cookin' up some growth

For its first quarter of this year, Chipotle posted total revenue of $2.0 billion. This was a sturdy 16% higher than the same period of 2021, and was on the back of 9% growth in comparable restaurant sales (i.e., outlets in operation for 13 calendar months at a minimum).

Young person seated in a restaurant and munching on a burrito.

Image source: Getty Images.

In-restaurant sales motored ahead by 33% largely thanks to the return of onsite diners, who returned in droves after ordering mostly takeout or delivery during the pandemic (it nearly goes without saying).

Digital sales also continue to be strong for the company, which has a smartly designed and easy to use ordering app. All told, sales in this channel comprised nearly 42% of core food and beverage revenue.

Non-GAAP (adjusted) net income also headed north, albeit on a more modest trajectory. That line item rose to nearly $161.4 million, or $5.70 per share, 5% and change higher than the year-ago profit of just over $153 million.

On average, analysts tracking Chipotle stock were anticipating the company to post revenue ever so slightly above the $2.0 billion mark. They were also modeling an adjusted, per-share net profit of $5.64. Safe to say the company comfortably beat both measures.

In its earnings release Chipotle pointed out that its board of directors approved an additional $300 million for share repurchases during the quarter. As of the end of last month, nearly $281 million remained under authroization for the purpose, including the new amount. 

A big return to the dining room

Chipotle proffered selected guidance for both the current second quarter, and the entirety of 2022, in the release.

For the former period, it's forecasting 10% to 12% growth in comparable restaurant sales "assuming current sales trends continue." During the full year, it counts on opening 235 to 250 new restaurants, although this tally includes five to ten relocations in order to include Chipotlane drive-thru facilities. In the first quarter, 51 new outlets were opened, 42 of which had a Chipotlane.

The company did not provide any profitability estimates.

Regardless, Chipotle's quarterly performance was satisfying and impressive, even if it was operating from a fairly low year-over-year comparison basis because of the pandemic.

This is also heartening for the wider restaurant sector. We can assume that diners are continuing to return in significant numbers not only to the burrito slinger, but also to other top restaurant chains like McDonald's.

Speaking of which, McDonald's is about to take its turn at bat this earnings season. It's slated to report its first quarter earnings this Thursday, and many eyes will be on that release to better gauge how the industry as a whole is doing.