Chipotle Moves Over For New Fast Casual Dining King
Stock at Chipotle Mexican Grill has finally stopped dropping. It is actually 10% higher in 2016. Investors have started breathing sighs of relief that the E. coli outbreaks at Chipotle have finally come to an end.
However, shares remains far below their all time high that was hit during last summer. Chipotle’s outlook for its first quarter does not show much promise. Clients might be slow to return to the burrito makers for their quick Mexican food fix.
That in turn is good news for Panera another leader in the fast casual restaurant revolution. Stock at Panera hit its all time high Thursday. Shares are up over the last year by 30% compared to a drop of 20% over the same period by Chipotle’s stock.
A number of analysts suggested in November, when Chipotle was going through its E. coli crisis that Panera would be a benefactor of the problems Chipotle was experiencing.
Even though the menu at Panera is not at all like that of Chipotle, the two are regarded by a number of customers as one of the better places to grab a quick lunch. They call the two a big step up from the fast food world.
However, Panera executives do not think Chipotle’s woes have helped their company. They point to the fact Panera had been doing quite well prior to the food safety problems experienced by Chipotle.
Customers do not wake awake each morning and think what restaurant they will be going to. They think if they are in the mood to have a burrito or a soup and salad, said Andrew Madsen the president of Panera.
That is a solid point, but numbers are what tell a much different story. Sales growth at Panera has picked up over the past few months while it has tanked at Chipotle.
Panera reported in February that sales at same stores were up by 3.6% for its fourth quarter. Thus far, during 2016, sales at Panera are up by 6.4%, which is very impressive.
Even though Panera may say the problems of Chipotle did not help them, numbers prove that to be different. It has now taken the top spot from Chipotle and will likely not be giving it away any time soon.