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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Why you should Buy $CMG Chipotle Mexican Grill's (NYSE: CMG ) ?

This year marks Chipotle Mexican Grill's (NYSE: CMG ) 20th anniversary and with more than 1,400 restaurants serving almost 1 million customers daily, it's safe to say the concept has caught on. I love the fact that the company owns all its stores; it doesn't franchise any of them. What this means for investors is strategic growth based on management's goals. These stores are not only self-funding but also veritable cash machines with each ringing up more than $2 million in average annual sales, and when we consider that the average store yields an operating profit of around $570,000 per year (and growing), it's not hard to see why Chipotle makes for an attractive long-term holding. Initiatives like the ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen and the recently announced catering service offer up additional growth drivers beyond expanding the current store footprint (which I believe has room to at least double) meaning that today's price at around 30 times full-year estimates is a fair one to own shares in an excellent company. The biggest risk on the horizon for Chipotle is food costs. Management does possess some pricing power thanks to the quality of the food and experience, but they don't have a history of abusing it. Best of all, we know that with Chipotle and its streamlined store concept, for founder and co-CEO Steve Ells it always has been and always will be about the food. Ells has developed a platform with which he can deliver an excellent product. But for investors to look at Chipotle as "just a burrito joint" is extremely short-sighted. This story has a long way to go.
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