Chipotle to slow restaurant openings despite earnings boost from queso

DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL - Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. announced Tuesday that it will slow the rate of growth of its restaurants in 2018 in order to focus on improving the guest experience — a decision made after a quarter in which the introduction of queso helped it to boost revenues and same-store sales, though it missed analysts’ earnings forecasts significantly because of a number of factors.

The Denver-based fast-casual chain (NYSE: CMG) has gone through an organizational restructuring over the past year, which followed a year of fallout that began in late 2015 around an E. coli scare that sent a number of customers to the hospital.

As part of that, it eliminated higher-level managerial positions in the company and put more managers closer to restaurants, hoping to improve service and speed at the chain’s 2,374 locations and win back the trust of customers who fled Chipotle or stopped coming as frequently after its food-borne illness problems, founder and CEO Steve Ells explained during an earnings call.

In order to increase training and create innovations around Chipotle’s menu and its digital-ordering platform, however, chief restaurant officer Scott Boatwright said he’s asked the company’s development team to ease off on the pace of new openings over the next 12 to 18 months.

Read more at the Denver Business Journal: http://bit.ly/2lgWJA7

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