It has almost been a year since Brian Niccol took over at Chipotle. Today, he told investors that he is working to make Chipotle more visible to customer again.
So far, Niccol has inspired confidence in investors as the stock has nearly doubled off of its 52-week lows.
During 2018, Chipotle has returned to positive same store sales while also improving store-level margins. The margins have gotten back near to 20%, but they still sit well short of peak margins before all the troubles began.
Chipotle Working on Speed of Service
Over the last year, Chipotle has focused many efforts on getting its food to customers more quickly. One method has been to work through “second make” lines.
These lines sit behind the scenes and process mobile and online orders. Customers are then able to walk into the store and walk back out.
Chipotle has also upgraded its mobile app and rewards program. The hope is that this technology can help customers get in and out of the store when the line is busy.
More Brand Visibility
Niccol also wants to remind customers why they liked the brand in the first place. He believes that the company went silent and became defensive during food safety issues.
Part of the original Chipotle message was to tell customers about their high quality and “natural” ingredients. Chipotle recently has been running ads to tell customers about its 51 ingredients.
So far, the changes have been rewarded by investors. The stock valuation remains high, so investors will be watching to see if the company can return to its profitable days again.