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Chipotle to Add 10,000 Jobs to Strengthen Digital Expansion

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. CMG is leaving no stone unturned to strengthen digital sales. Digitalization has played a crucial role in sustaining growth for restaurant operators amid the coronavirus pandemic. The company announced that it will open the 100th Chipotlane — the brand's drive-thru digital order pick-up lane — this month in the Columbus, OH. 

In first-quarter 2020, the company opened 19 new restaurants with 11 having Chipotlane. In an effort to support brand’s growth, Chipotle plans to add 10,000 employees over the next few months, which includes hourly and salaried management positions, and crew.

Chipotle further informed that its hiring campaign, which started in May has resulted in nearly 8,000 hires to date. The company has received approximately 700,000 applications nationwide since the beginning of 2020.

Scott Boatwright, chief restaurant officer said “With a dedicated team and kitchen devoted to digital orders, we need to continue to grow our workforce to support the increasing demand, especially in locations featuring a Chipotlane.”

Share of Chipotle have gained 38.2% in the past three months, compared with the industry’s growth of 7.7%.

Digital Sales to Drive Growth

The Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company is prioritizing its e-commerce program to drive growth. The company is aggressively trying to make digital ordering more appealing to customers and more efficient for its restaurants, in order to drive digital sales and retain customers during the coronavirus crisis. In the regard, Chipotle has redesigned and simplified its online ordering site, enabled online payment for catering, online meal customizations and collaborated with several well-known third-party providers for delivery. During the first quarter, it also announced a successful national delivery partnership with Uber Eats.

In first-quarter 2020, digital sales soared 81% year over year to $372 million, accounting for 26.3% of sales. The company has increased its focus on digital and delivery services owing to the shutting down of the dine-in facility in the wake of the pandemic. Also, since the rollout of its “Smarter Pickup Times” technology, there has been a significant enhancement in digital orders and guest satisfaction. Meanwhile, the company is advancing with its plans to strengthen delivery system. Delivery remains a key driver for digital growth. In fact, delivery is now available for more than 98% of its restaurants.

Other Key Picks

Some other top-ranked stocks in the same space include Dine Brands Global, Inc. DIN, Papa John's International, Inc. PZZA and Yum China Holdings, Inc. YUMC, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Dine Brands’ 2021 earnings are expected to soar 206.6%.

Papa John's has a three-five-year earnings per share growth rate of 8%.

Yum China beat estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 62.9%.

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