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After Chipotle’s earnings beat, CEO says chain can double locations

Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol told CNBC’s Jim Cramer that the company plans to double its current number of locations.

“We really do believe we can double the restaurant count to 7,000,” Niccol said. “We view it as a conservative number, and we view it as something that’s very feasible in the long term.”

Tuesday after the market close, Chipotle reported $2.52 billion in revenue, beating the $2.49 billion expected by analysts at LSEG, formerly known as Refinitiv. The company’s foot traffic increased 7.4%, a stark difference from recent declines seen by peers McDonald’s and Starbucks.

Niccol attributed the successful quarter to the company’s ability to produce quality food while keeping lines in the restaurants moving quickly.

Niccol conceded that it has been a tricky business environment over the past two years as inflation persists, but said he thinks Chipotle customers are satisfied with the cost of its food. Chipotle announced in October of last year it would increase prices to offset inflation after a year without any hikes, but didn’t share the exact higher costs.

“What we hear back, time and time again, is when we do great culinary, terrific speed, terrific customization, at the prices we’ve been able to maintain, we’re really affordable and folks view us as a terrific value,” he said. “So, we keep a really close eye on that, and I think you’re seeing that in our transactions as a result of it.”

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