Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (CMG): This Restaurant Chain Is a Little Too Expensive

Page 1 of 2

With sales up almost tenfold over the past decade, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) is unquestionably one of the fastest-growing food-service companies in the market. With about 1,400 restaurants currently, mainly in the U.S., Chipotle still has plenty of room for growth, particularly in international markets, an area the company is just beginning to explore. My only concern is that maybe a lot of the growth potential of Chipotle is already priced into the stock, that is, maybe the market is just a little too optimistic. Is there still room for Chipotle to rise, or could you put your investment dollars to better use elsewhere in the fast-food business?

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG)

The growth of Chipotle

As the revenue chart shows, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) has grown at a tremendous rate over the years and has successfully earned a reputation of offering high-quality food at fast-food prices. The company prides itself on only serving naturally raised meats and fresh produce, which are part of its ‘food with integrity’ philosophy.

Chipotle is part of a very rapidly growing segment of the food-service industry known as “fast casual,” which reflects the shifting tastes of the American public toward healthy food at low prices that is served quickly. Over the past several years, fast-casual restaurants have seen their sales grow at double-digit rates as opposed to other restaurant categories, whose sales have averaged a 1% to 2% decline in recent years.

What is most remarkable is that Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG)’s sales growth has not slowed down at all, even over the peak recessionary period between 2008 and 2010. In fact, the chart above indicates that revenue growth actually accelerated during that time period.

My main worry with Chipotle is that too much growth may be priced into shares right now. Chipotle trades at just under 40 times trailing-12 months earning, which by itself isn’t too uncommon for a rapidly growing company. Chipotle is projected to earn $10.62 per share this year, rising to $12.72 and $15.40 in 2014 and 2015, respectively. This translate to average annual forward earnings growth of 20.8%, which is great but I’m not sure if it justifies such a high valuation.

I’m also a bit skeptical about how long Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) can keep up this growth rate. As more and more of the company’s restaurants open, it will become more difficult to sustain the high growth. For example, for 20% growth, the company would have to open 280 stores this year based on the current store count. This seems manageable, but next year the company would need to open 336 stores to simply maintain the same rate of growth. You can see how this rate of expansion will get more difficult over time.

Page 1 of 2
blog comments powered by Disqus
Insider Monkey Headlines
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months. Our beta is only 1.2 (don't click this link if beating the market isn't important to you).

Lists

Shopaholics Rejoice: The 12 Biggest Malls in the World

Fright Night: 10 Horror Movies Based on True Stories

Mach Mania: The 10 Fastest Jets in the World

Military Heavyweights: The 10 Countries with the Most Tanks

All In: The 7 Richest Poker Players in the World

Abracadabra: The 10 Best Magicians in the World

The 10 Richest Asian Countries in the World in 2014

Eyes in the Sky: 10 Things You Need to Know About Drones

Rising Stars: The 6 Best Silicon Valley Startups

Military Muscle: The 5 Most Advanced Armies in South America

All that Glitters: The 7 Most Luxurious Jewelry Brands in the World

5 Things You Didn’t Know About ISIS but Should

Empowering Your Money: The 5 Best Energy Stocks to Invest In

The 11 Best Android Apps You Can’t Get on iOS

The 10 Most Important International Conflicts in 2014

Mood Enhancers: The 20 Most Uplifting Songs of all Time

Lover Beware: The 8 Countries that Cheat the Most

Breath of Fresh Air: The 25 Countries with the Best Air Quality on the Planet

Singles Beware: The 8 Worst Mistakes Made on First Dates

Healthy and Happy: The 10 Countries with Lowest Healthcare Costs

The 6 Best Company Team Building Activities to Build Workplace Camaraderie

Ships Ahoy: The 10 Busiest Shipping Ports in the World

10 Productivity Tips to Save You Time and Help You Do More With Less

Grab a Bite: The Most Popular Fast Food Restaurants in America

Friday Night Thirst: The 10 Most Popular Cocktails in the World

The 6 Greatest Unsolved Mysteries We May Never Figure Out

7 Useless Products You Never Should’ve Bought

The 5 Reasons Why You’re Single and Miserable

The 7 Most Addictive Foods in the World We Can’t Stop Eating (Even Though We Should)

5 Amazing Places You Can Swim with Dolphins

The Top 7 Most Livable Countries In The World

The 10 Most Expensive Baseball Cards Ever Pulled From A Pack

The 5 Easiest Second Languages to Learn for English Speakers

Silver Spoon: The 6 Richest Families in the World

The 20 Countries with the Largest Prison Populations in the World

The Top 10 Richest Actors in the World

The 10 Best Airline Stocks to Invest In Before They Fly Too High

Burger Kings: The 10 Most Expensive Burgers in the World

The 10 Most Ethnically Diverse Countries in the World

The 10 Most Exclusive Credit Cards in the World

The 10 Most Expensive Cruise Ships in the World

The 10 Fastest Supercomputers in the World

The 10 Best Countries for Doing Business 2015

6 Most Expensive Fruits In The World

10 Worst Airlines in the World

The 10 Biggest Tax Havens in the World to Stash Your Money

The 15 Most Murderous Countries in the World

10 Largest Colleges in the World: Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee: The 6 Comedians Seinfeld Needs to Interview

Easy Money: The 10 Most Successful Investors in the World Today

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!