But the new development suggests Chipotle's crisis isn't over. In a statement, Co-CEO Monty Moran said he anticipates a rough 2016, but remains confident the beloved fast-casual chain will make a comeback.
“2016 will be a very difficult year relative to our past performance," he said. "But, by staying true to our food culture and unique people culture, and layering on our rigorous food safety program, we are confident that we are now in a position to aggressively welcome customers into our restaurants and restore customer confidence in the things that make Chipotle great. With our full commitment to becoming an industry leader in food safety, and our continued focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience, we are confident that Chipotle will emerge as an even stronger company."
The earnings report also illustrates the enormous dent the food-borne illness scares put in Chipotle's business in the fiscal quarter that ended Dec. 31, 2015. When compared to the same quarter in 2014, Chipotle's restaurant sales dropped by 14.6% and its revenue decreased 6.8% to $997.5 million, and worse yet, its net income for the quarter was $67.9 million, or a decrease of 44%.