Chipotle tells employees not to eat chicken on the job The fast food chain told employees to choose another protein option for their meals to preserve supply


Chipotle is hogging its chicken from employees in a bid to keep up with surging demand from customers.

“Due to the high demand for chicken in our restaurants and sustained success of our Chicken Al Pastor, last week we asked all our corporate and in-restaurant employees to temporarily select another protein option for their meals to preserve our supply,” said Laurie Schalow, Chipotle’s chief corporate affairs and food safety officer, in a statement to Quartz.

That comes just a day after the restaurant chain reported earnings that revealed its sales were being driven by its Braised Beef Barbacoa and Al Pastor Chicken menu items.

Chipotle’s Schalow said that the company has “since informed employees they can return to ordering chicken in their meals as normal.” The turnaround comes just days after Bloomberg reported that the internal changes would be implemented immediately and last pending further notice.

Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) hit an all-time high today, climbing 7.35% to $3,142 in afternoon trading. The increase comes after the popular burrito chain reported first-quarter earnings Wednesday and outpaced analysts’ expectations in both earnings and sales. Shares now have risen by more than a third over the past year.

The company announced that first-quarter revenue increased by 14% from a year ago to $2.7 billion, which was just above analysts’ expectations of $2.68 billion, CNBC reported, citing a consensus estimate. Earnings per share were expected to hover at $11.68 but instead came in at $13.37.

Even though the company has raised its prices six times since 2021, as the Wall Street Journal reported, loyalists keep coming back: Chipotle saw a 7% increase in same-store sales. Chipotle attributes this increase to faster service and the revival of limited-time offerings such as Chicken al Pastor.

Since Wednesday’s earnings report, at least 10 analysts have raised their price targets on the stock, MarketWatch reported.

The news comes as many well-known restaurant chains are struggling. At the beginning of this year, TGI Fridays announced the closure of 36 locations. Meanwhile, fast-casual Tex-Mex chain Tijuana Flats—now under new ownership—filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this month, and Red Lobster has reportedly considered a similar route.

Chipotle remains optimistic, expecting that same-store sales will grow by a mid-to-high single-digit percentage. 

In addition to these projections, Chipotle’s board approved a 50-for-1 stock split in March, one of the largest in the New York Stock Exchange’s history. If investors vote to approve the split in the annual shareholder meeting on June 6, it will start trading on a post-split basis on June 26. 

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