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A Look Back at Modern Fast Food Stocks' Q1 Earnings: Chipotle (NYSE:CMG) Vs The Rest Of The Pack


Adam Hejl /
2024/05/24 7:35 am EDT

As the Q1 earnings season comes to a close, it’s time to take stock of this quarter's best and worst performers in the modern fast food industry, including Chipotle (NYSE:CMG) and its peers.

Modern fast food is a relatively newer category representing a middle ground between traditional fast food and sit-down restaurants. These establishments feature an expanded menu selection priced above traditional fast food options, often incorporating fresher and cleaner ingredients to serve customers prioritizing quality. These eateries are capitalizing on the perception that your drive-through burger and fries joint is detrimental to your health because of inferior ingredients.

The 6 modern fast food stocks we track reported a very strong Q1; on average, revenues beat analyst consensus estimates by 2.3%. Stocks--especially those trading at higher multiples--had a strong end of 2023, but 2024 has seen periods of volatility. Mixed signals about inflation have led to uncertainty around rate cuts, and modern fast food stocks have held roughly steady amidst all this, with share prices up 4.1% on average since the previous earnings results.

Chipotle (NYSE:CMG)

Born from a desire to offer quick meals with fresh, flavorful ingredients, Chipotle (NYSE:CMG) is a fast-food chain known for its healthy, Mexican-inspired cuisine and customizable dishes.

Chipotle reported revenues of $2.70 billion, up 14.1% year on year, topping analysts' expectations by 1.2%. It was a very strong quarter for the company: Chipotle beat analysts' same store sales, revenue, gross margin, and EPS expectations. Moving on, full year guidance for comparable store sales was raised from mid-single digit year on year percentage increase to mid to high-single digit percentage increase.

"We had another outstanding quarter driven by our improvement in throughput and successful marketing initiatives, including Braised Beef Barbacoa and Chicken Al Pastor, which drove strong sales and transactions. The results we are seeing from our focus on developing exceptional people, preparing delicious food and fast throughput gives me confidence that we can achieve our long-term target of more than doubling our business in North America and expanding internationally," said Brian Niccol, Chairman and CEO, Chipotle.

Chipotle Total Revenue

The stock is up 7.7% since the results and currently trades at $3,150.

Read why we think that Chipotle is one of the best modern fast food stocks, our full report is free.

Best Q1: Wingstop (NASDAQ:WING)

The passion project of two chicken wing aficionados in Texas, Wingstop (NASDAQ:WING) is a popular fast-food chain known for its flavorful and crispy chicken wings offered in a variety of sauces and seasonings.

Wingstop reported revenues of $145.8 million, up 34.1% year on year, outperforming analysts' expectations by 7.2%. It was a stunning quarter for the company, with an impressive beat of analysts' revenue, gross margin, EBITDA, and EPS estimates.

Wingstop Total Revenue

Wingstop achieved the biggest analyst estimates beat and fastest revenue growth among its peers. The stock is down 1.3% since the results and currently trades at $379.85.

Is now the time to buy Wingstop? Access our full analysis of the earnings results here, it's free.

Sweetgreen (NYSE:SG)

Founded in 2007 by three Georgetown University alum, Sweetgreen (NYSE:SG) is a casual quick service chain known for its healthy salads and bowls.

Sweetgreen reported revenues of $157.9 million, up 26.2% year on year, exceeding analysts' expectations by 3.9%. It was a solid quarter for the company, with an impressive beat of analysts' revenue estimates.

Sweetgreen pulled off the highest full-year guidance raise in the group. The stock is up 32.4% since the results and currently trades at $31.2.

Read our full analysis of Sweetgreen's results here.

Noodles (NASDAQ:NDLS)

Offering pasta, mac and cheese, pad thai, and more, Noodles & Company (NASDAQ:NDLS) is a casual restaurant chain that serves all manner of noodles from around the world.

Noodles reported revenues of $121.4 million, down 3.7% year on year, in line with analysts' expectations. It was a strong quarter for the company, with a solid beat of analysts' earnings estimates.

Noodles had the weakest full-year guidance update among its peers. The stock is up 6.3% since the results and currently trades at $1.85.

Read our full, actionable report on Noodles here, it's free.

Shake Shack (NYSE:SHAK)

Started as a hot dog cart in New York City's Madison Square Park, Shake Shack (NYSE:SHAK) is a fast-food restaurant known for its burgers and milkshakes.

Shake Shack reported revenues of $290.5 million, up 14.7% year on year, falling short of analysts' expectations by 0.2%. It was a very strong quarter for the company, with an impressive beat of analysts' gross margin estimates and a solid beat of analysts' earnings estimates.

Shake Shack had the weakest performance against analyst estimates among its peers. The stock is down 6.9% since the results and currently trades at $96.14.

Read our full, actionable report on Shake Shack here, it's free.

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