Queso is many things, but it isn’t the answer to Chipotle’s seemingly never-ending run of recent problems.
Shares in the fast casual chain plummeted on Tuesday after some disappointing third quarter numbers. Reuters reports that shares in Chipotle were down 9.5 percent in extended trading. No company wants a decline like that, but after the chain’s public image nightmares this was not the business news Chipotle wants to hear at this stage. A major data security breach and the impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma also did the company no favors.
On Tuesday, Chipotle announced they will be raising prices by five percent starting in November. The cost of your order will swell, but the number of planned openings for the chain is being trimmed. Approximately 130 to 150 restaurant openings will be done in 2018, significantly down from 2017’s 195 to 210 forecast. It says a lot about how inescapable Chipotle is when opening over 100 new locations in a year can be considered a letdown.
“We’re going to slow down just a little bit, but this is a temporary slowdown for 12 to 18 months,” said founder and chief executive Steve Ells. “You have to get the fundamentals right first. Looking inward and understanding where you made mistakes in the past helps you set up for change.”
After a combo of progress and false starts, the question now is whether or not consumers will be as patient as Chipotle claims to be during this period of unsteady footing.