success. As we grow, however, we may have difficulty maintaining our culture or adapting it sufficiently to meet the needs of our operations. Our failure to manage our growth effectively could
harm our business and operating results.
New stores, once opened, may not be profitable, and the increases in average store sales and comp store sales that we've experienced in the past may not be indicative of future results.
Historically, our new stores have opened with an initial ramp-up period typically lasting 24 months or more, during which they generated sales
and income below the levels at which we expect them to normalize. This is in part due to the time it takes to build a customer base in a new market, higher fixed costs relating to increased
construction and occupancy costs and other start-up inefficiencies that are typical of new stores. New stores may neither be
profitable nor have results comparable to our existing stores. In addition, our average store sales and comp store sales likely will not continue to increase at the rates achieved over the past
several years. Our ability to operate new stores profitably and increase average store sales and comp store sales will depend on many factors, some of which are beyond our control, including:
our vision effectively;
sales performance of new stores;
either from our competitors in the restaurant industry or our own stores;
in consumer preferences and discretionary spending;
understanding and acceptance of the Chipotle experience;
construction and other factors limiting access to new stores;
economic conditions, which can affect store traffic, local labor costs and prices we pay for the ingredients and other supplies we use; and
in government regulation.
we fail to open stores as quickly as planned, or if new stores don't perform as planned, our business and future prospects could be harmed. In addition, changes in our average store
sales or comp store sales could cause our operating results to vary adversely from expectations, which could cause the price of our common stock to fluctuate substantially.
Our expansion into new markets may present increased risks due to our unfamiliarity with those areas.
Some of our new stores are planned for markets where we have little or no operating experience. Those markets may have different competitive conditions, consumer
tastes and discretionary spending patterns than our existing markets. As a result, those new stores may be less successful than stores in our existing markets. Consumers in a new market may not be
familiar with the Chipotle brand, and we may need to build brand awareness in that market through greater investments in advertising and promotional activity than we originally planned. We may find it
more difficult in new markets to hire, motivate and keep qualified employees who can project our vision, passion and culture. Stores opened in new markets may also have lower average store sales than
stores opened in existing markets, and may have higher construction, occupancy or operating costs than stores in existing markets. What's more, we may have difficulty in finding reliable suppliers or
distributors or ones that can provide us, either initially or over time, with adequate supplies of ingredients meeting our quality standards. Sales at stores opened in new markets may take longer to
ramp up and reach expected sales and profit levels, and may never do so, thereby affecting our overall profitability.