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Chipotle data shows staff isn't as happy with the new CEO

4 months ago by Jon Marino in Markets

Last year Chipotle ($NYSE:CMG) got a new CEO, and this year, the company's senior management is getting lower staff satisfaction scores. Hopefully it's just a coincidence. 

Thinknum data tracks ratings of staff - for things like "Senior Management" for Chipotle, and under a new CEO, it has begin to see satisfaction rating decline in 2019. Part of what could be grating at staff is the recent reduction in job postings for "Service Manager" and "Kitchen Manager" positions (not shown). 

We can also track product pricing - and, in Q3, it went up at Chipotle. Burrito prices - not shown went up as well. Our chart above tracks average menu prices at Chipotle across all items, which are up about 6% since CEO Brian Niccol's arrival in 2018.

Whether it's 'commodity-driven' or 'strategy-driven' makes a huge difference here - as various US policy entanglements are creating temporary artificial commodity price spikes, Chipotle could find itself spending more on goods it uses to stuff its delicious burritos, which would be bad. Or, Niccol and Chipotle know they have cornered the market on 'big burrito,' and are tweaking pricing accordingly. Chipotle is, after all, out to a big advantage in the taco wars

For investors, what could be most troubling is a slowdown in store count growth - although, product pricing increases may help make up for some of this. After years of consistent growth, it looks as if Chipotle store counts are not growing at the rate they did in prior years.

Chipotle will announce earnings October 22 and analysts are looking for $3.16 per share EPS, an increase year-over-year. Shares are up 92% year-to-date. 

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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