Taco Bell’s Smearing Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (CMG) With Cool Ranch

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) is cool, but is Cool Ranch even cooler?

Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM) is introducing new tacos today featuring shells with Doritos Cool Ranch seasoning.

The latest entry to Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Tacos are officially hitting the market tomorrow, but Yum! Brands surprised followers on Facebook and Twitter by alerting them that the new menu item is available today.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG)

A year ago Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) investors would’ve laughed off any attack from Taco Bell. Isn’t that where young penny-pinchers go to load up in the wee hours? How dare anyone compare Chipotle’s “food with integrity” with the slop being spooned out at Taco Bell?

However, the success last year of the original Doritos Locos Tacos and the slightly more upscale Cantina Bell line appears to be having some kind of effect on Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG).

Comps at Taco Bell popped 7% during the third quarter, the first period that the Cantina Bell and Doritos Locos Tacos were available for the entire quarter. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) clocked in with same-store sales growth of just 4.8%.

Most chains would love to see a typical store ringing up 4.8% more in sales than it did a year earlier, but Chipotle investors were used to more growth than that. Things only got worse when Chipotle’s comps only rose 3.8% during the fourth quarter.

Can Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) grow faster if Taco Bell has another hit on its hands?

In theory, it shouldn’t play out that way. Chipotle is fast casual. Taco Bell is fast food. Taco Bell competes with burger joints armed with similar value menus and drive-thru windows. Chipotle’s higher-caliber food makes it more likely to lose a customer to rival fast casual darling Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA) before it comes up short against Taco Bell.

However, the novelty of the new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos may wind up costing both Chipotle and Panera in the near term.

There may also be a more pronounced move on Chipotle’s bottom line. Revenue grew at a reasonable 17% clip in Chipotle’s latest quarter, but income only climbed 7% for the period. Chipotle argues that it didn’t raise prices quickly enough as commodity costs inched higher, but could it also be that Chipotle was afraid to tweak its menu with higher price points given Taco Bell’s thriving at the low end?

We may never know. However, Chipotle better hope that it doesn’t post disappointing comps in the coming quarters. Given the stock’s lofty valuation multiples, it better prove that it’s the one that’s cooler than Cool Ranch.

The article Taco Bell’s Smearing Chipotle With Cool Ranch originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Rick Aristotle Munarriz.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Aristotle Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panera Bread. The Motley Fool owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panera Bread.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Comments
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

The 8 Best Foods for Gaining Weight

The 10 Most Expensive Colleges in the World

The 7 Most Memorable Ad Campaigns of All Time

The 7 Most Expensive High Schools in the World

The 10 Electric Vehicles with the Longest Range

The 10 Cities with the Worst Drivers in the World

The 10 Most Expensive Dresses Ever Created

10 Islands to Visit Before You Die

10 Famous Celebrities Who Needed Rehab

The 15 Countries with the Largest Oil Reserves

The 10 Most Overused Excuses in the World

The 5 Best iOS Apps You Can’t Get on Android

5 Companies Damaged By Social Media Blunders

The 10 Most Legendary Blues Songs

The 10 Most Lawless Places in the World

4 Reasons China is a Threat to the US

The 17 Most Sugary Drinks in the World

The 10 Most Ruthless Rulers in History

The 10 Greatest Generals in History

Top 8 Travel Destinations for 2015

The 10 Safest Dog Breeds for Children

The 10 Most Stolen Vehicles in the US

The 7 Most Expensive Celebrity Weddings

The 10 Best LoL Teams in the World

Top 10 Worst Marketing Campaigns Ever Produced

Top 5 Diets that Help You Lose Weight

The 10 Best Ways to Stay Awake

7 Artists That Switched Musical Genres

The 10 Most Expensive Cities to Live in New Jersey

The 10 Best High Schools in New York

The 10 Countries With the Least Gender Inequality

The 6 Biggest Musician-Manager Feuds

The 10 Countries with the Cheapest Gas Prices

The 7 Most Theatrical Bands of All Time

The 8 Worst Band Breakups of All Time

The 10 Most Important South American Leaders

The 7 Most Successful Casting Show Winners

The 10 Most Peaceful Countries in the World

5 Big Reasons Communism Failed

The 15 Most Famous Carl Icahn Quotes

10 Scary Animals that are Actually Harmless

The 8 Most Famous Singer-Actors in Entertainment

The 10 Longest Wars of All Time

The 13 Worst Looking Foods that Taste Great

The 6 Most Gruesome Injuries Suffered During a Sports Match

The 20 Biggest Contracts in MLB History

The 7 Worst Blown Calls in Sports History

7 Free Ways to Advertise Your Business Online

The 18 Best R&B Songs of the 90’s

The 10 Most Dangerous States to be a Cop

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!