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Chipotle not yet ready to roll out brisket: CFO

Brian Sozzi
·Editor-at-Large
·2-min read
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Chipotle (CMG) isn't yet ready to send BBQ industry experts into a tizzy by launching its barbecue sauce lathered brisket at all of its 2,800 restaurants. 

"We tested brisket, that went really well. Customers love it. Operationally it went really well also," Chipotle CFO Jack Hartung told Yahoo Finance Live. "So we don't have any specific plans for when brisket might be rolled out or offered on a national basis, but that's something in the pipeline."

Chipotle began testing brisket in August 2020, as Yahoo Finance previously reported

More recently, Chipotle launched quesadillas for digital-only offers on March 9. Hartung said Chipotle will be testing several new products this summer, but declined to share specifics. 

Even without brisket on the menu (and with new quesadillas on it), Chipotle had an otherwise delicious quarter as diners continued to order food online during the pandemic. Price increases for digital orders also boosted results.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 20: A person walks outside Chipotle in Hell's Kitchen amid the coronavirus pandemic on March 20, 2021 in New York City. After undergoing various shutdown orders for the past 12 months the city is currently in phase 4 of its reopening plan, allowing for the reopening of low-risk outdoor activities, movie and television productions, indoor dining as well as the opening of movie theaters, all with capacity restrictions. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 20: A person walks outside Chipotle in Hell's Kitchen amid the coronavirus pandemic on March 20, 2021 in New York City. After undergoing various shutdown orders for the past 12 months the city is currently in phase 4 of its reopening plan, allowing for the reopening of low-risk outdoor activities, movie and television productions, indoor dining as well as the opening of movie theaters, all with capacity restrictions. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Chipotle reported Wednesday after the close of trading that first quarter digital sales surged 133.9% and represented approximately 50.1% of revenue. Same-store sales rose 17.2%.

Hartung told analysts on a conference call that second quarter to-date sales have started strongly on the back of digital ordering and the return of indoor dining. Second quarter same-store sales are seen rising by high 20s percent to 30%. 

"It's difficult to cast Chipotle's first quarter results/outlook in a negative light, in our view — the majority of Chipotle's key long-term value drivers continued trending in a positive direction (e.g., unit pipeline, average unit volume and margin algorithm, Chipotlane economics, new product pipeline and digital mix/initiatives)," wrote Wells Fargo analyst Jon Tower in a note to clients.

Tower reiterated an Overweight (Buy equivalent) on Chipotle's stock with a $1,818 price target.

Shares of Chipotle fell slightly to $1,489.65 in Thursday afternoon trading. 

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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