Chipotle reveals the damage: 29 percent drop in comps

chipotle sign

The food safety crises of late 2015 continued to wallop Chipotle during the first quarter, driving down comparable-restaurant sales by 29.7 percent and dropping transactions by 21.1 percent.

The declines left Chipotle with a net loss of $26.4 million on a 23.4 percent decline in revenues, to $834.5 million. The fast-casual chain posted a net profit of $122.6 million for the same period of 2015.

Restaurant-level margins fell to 6.8 percent, from a year-earlier level of 27.5 percent.

Chipotle had warned of a same-store sales decline in the neighborhood of 30 percent.

Co-CEO Steve Ells voiced guarded optimism. “As our sales are on a gradual path to recovery, we remain focused on our mission of changing the way people think about and eat fast food. The best approach to re-building our business is to proudly serve safe and delicious food in our high-quality restaurants every single day, which is exactly what we will continue to do.”

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