Innovative menus give them an edge

Article Excerpt

CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL $229.33 (New York symbol CMG; TSINetwork Rating: Speculative) (303-595-4000;; Shares outstanding: 30.9 million; Market cap: $7.1 billion; No dividends paid) is a Denver-based Mexican-restaurant chain. Founded in 1993, Chipotle (pronounced chi-POATlay) charges slightly higher prices than fast-food chains, but offers higher-quality food, including naturally raised meat, and better decor and service. Chipotle has 1,023 restaurants, including its first outside of the U.S., in Toronto. In April 2010, Chipotle opened a restaurant in London, England. In the three months ended September 30, 2010, Chipotle’s revenue rose 23%, to $476.9 million from $387.6 million a year earlier. That’s mainly because the company opened 22 new restaurants during the quarter. Earnings per share rose 42.2%, to $1.55 from $1.09. The company holds cash of $211 million, or $6.83 a share, and has no debt. Chipotle’s shares have more than doubled over the past year. The stock now trades at almost 42 times the $5.50 a share that the company probably earned in 2010…

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