Chipotle reports fourth-quarter earnings after the bell Wednesday.
Here’s what Wall Street is expecting, according to a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:
- Earnings per share: $1.37 per share
- Revenue: $1.19 billion
- Same-store sales growth: 4.49 percent
Thanks to CEO Brian Niccol’s popularity with investors, Chipotle’s stock had its best year since 2013 last year, with shares soaring nearly 50 percent. Niccol, who used to lead Yum Brands‘ subsidiary Taco Bell, took the reins in March. To bring the company back to stable growth, he’s been pushing digital and marketing investments.
Digital orders typically mean a higher check for restaurants, not to mention that they reduce in-store lines. To cope with a rising number of digital orders, Chipotle is updating its kitchens with a second assembly line solely for those orders. It has more upgrades, like pick-up shelves to display online orders, in the works.
Last month, just in time for New Year’s resolutions, the company rolled out “lifestyle” bowls that cater to customers trying to follow popular protein-rich diets with guacamole or double the meat. The bowls, which are a bit pricier than the typical Chipotle burrito bowl, are only available online or through Chipotle’s website.
In October, the company began testing a loyalty program in several U.S. cities to win back customers, with a national launch slated for this year. The program is yet another way to drive diners to order their Chipotle burritos digitally.