Chipotle Continues its Digital-First Dominance $CMG

October 21, 2021

Chipotle Continues its Digital-First Dominance $CMG

Throughout the first half of 2021, the re-opening narrative dominated discourse surrounding consumer-facing companies -- Many restaurants, devastated by closures in the prior year, eagerly talked up the slow return of foot traffic…

Meanwhile, Chipotle ($CMG) simply continued doing what it had been doing for the past year: expanding digital offerings and innovating its menu to keep consumers engaged.

LikeFolio data shows that CMG is still crushing the competition, with consumer Buzz growth outpacing both its fast-casual peers ($SHAK) and traditional fast-food rivals ($MCD) in terms of YoY growth.

Last year, the fast-casual chain leveraged its pre-existing online infrastructure to rapidly innovate the entire business model…And, CMG has only continued to build on its digital-first approach. The company recently introduced 2 important innovations on this front, Chipotlanes (drive-thru windows for digital order pickup) and a prototype “ghost kitchen.”
CMG’s ghost kitchens have yet to proliferate, but consumers are showing an increased preference for this new type of dining experience. Mentions of takeout/delivery-focused foodservice businesses are on pace to reach a new high in Fall 2021.

Although chipotle has already recovered 70% of its on-premise business, digital sales still account for nearly half of the company’s total revenue and are still rising year-over-year (+10.5% last quarter).
Recently, CMG utilized the release of a highly anticipated new menu item, smoked brisket, to drive further engagement within its digital ecosystem. Chipotle’s digital order mentions demonstrate the resounding success of the promotion, with the resulting spike in volume nearly surpassing the pandemic surge.

The 2020 lockdowns proved an unlikely boom for Chipotle, and the management team has continued to produce unparalleled results -- CMG posted double-digit revenue growth in the past 4 quarters and record-high earnings in the past 2.

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