There's more to Chipotle Mexican Grill's
Speaking at the Cowen and Company Consumer Conference on Tuesday, officials for the fast-growing chain spelled out international opportunities and the rollout of smaller units, and reiterated the outlook for same-store sales and unit growth for 2010.
It's more than a mouthful, but the same can be said of the company's burritos.
The international push isn't just lip service. The company is scouting locations in France and Germany, inspired by the success at its first international unit in Toronto. London is now three months away from greeting its first Chipotle.
Success abroad can be huge, naturally. You never know what will be a big hit in foreign markets. Whether it's the success of Yum! Brands'
As for stateside growth, Chipotle still sees enough elbow room for thousands more restaurants, but it's also testing a more compact design to help it forge deeper into smaller markets. The prototype's kitchen is 25% smaller than the current kitchen, allowing Chipotle to save $25,000 in development costs as well as skim a bit off its energy bill.
This year, the company looks to open 120 to 130 new units. It sees flat same-store sales, though it has historically been very conservative in its guidance. Given Chipotle's popularity among the office lunch-break crowd, it's hard to fathom flat comps if the economy begins showing signs of life.
The chains that have done well during the downturn -- Chipotle, Buffalo Wild Wings
So file away all of Chipotle's international and suburban expansion plans, but I'd dismiss the call for flat comps.
It's better than that. It will be better than that.
Chipotle is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers choice. Buffalo Wild Wings and Chipotle are Motley Fool Hidden Gems picks. The Fool owns shares of Chipotle. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. They are all as delicious as a Chipotle carnitas burrito.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz can walk to a Salsarita or jog to a Baja Fresh or a Qdoba, but prefers the now-short drive to his local Chipotle. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.