Chipotle Stock Primed for First-Ever Split in 2024 After Nearly 5300% All Time Rise

Ajit Kushwaha

Chipotle Mexican Grill could be setting up for its first-ever stock split in 2024 after an astounding nearly 5300% share price surge since its IPO in 2006.

The fast-casual restaurant chain has skyrocketed to a current share price of nearly $2300 (currently trading at $2,276.56, as per Dec 29 2023, 1:17 PM) without conducting any splits along the way.

This leaves some retail investors unable to purchase full shares of the stock. A forward stock split may be necessary to open up ownership opportunities for more individuals.

The Keys to Chipotle’s Success

Chipotle’s incredible growth stems from three key factors:

1. Fresh Ingredients

The company relies heavily on fresh, locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. This includes responsibly raised meats without added hormones or antibiotics.

Chipotle has shown consumers will pay a premium for high-quality ingredients that align with health and sustainability values. The fresh food focus builds strong brand loyalty.

2. Pricing Power

By using premium ingredients, Chipotle has realized substantial pricing power. Customers are willing to pay more for food perceived as higher quality and more ethical.

This has allowed the company to pass rising costs onto consumers instead of absorbing inflationary hits itself. Sales growth has actually accelerated along with broader inflation.

3. Innovation

Chipotle is constantly innovating with new menu items and approaches to reach and serve customers. Limited-time food offerings help drive traffic and buzz.

More impactful has been innovation around the customer experience itself. Chipotle began experimenting with “Chipotlanes” in 2018 – digital order drive-thru lanes that boost convenience.

Growth Trends and Valuation

Thanks to these key strengths, Chipotle has achieved stunning growth:

  • 22% revenue CAGR over the past 5 years
  • 25% EPS CAGR over the past 3 years
  • 50%+ annual EPS growth expected over next 3-5 years

Yet the stock trades at a relatively reasonable forward P/E of around 54. While not cheap, for a company growing earnings at a 25-50% clip, this leaves room for further expansion.

Why a Stock Split May Be Ahead

With the share price nearly $2300, some retail investors are priced out of buying a full share of Chipotle stock. The high price also limits liquidity and turnover.

Stock splits are cosmetic changes that boost accessibility without altering underlying value. More investors could purchase Chipotle shares after a hypothetical 5-for-1 split.

Splits also often coincide with renewed surges in share prices. By announcing a forward split for 2024, Chipotle may aim to drive additional investor interest.

Other high-flying stocks like Amazon and Tesla have conducted splits after huge run-ups to maintain liquidity. Chipotle appears poised to follow a similar path in 2024.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to its focus on fresh ingredients, pricing power, and innovation, Chipotle has been one of the top-performing restaurant stocks since its IPO in 2006.

The 5300% share price leap has made it difficult for some retail investors to purchase full shares. A 5-for-1 or 10-for-1 split could happen in 2024 to improve accessibility and liquidity.

For investors able to buy at the current nearly $2300 price level, Chipotle remains a compelling growth stock. The company is still in expansion mode with expectations for 25-50% EPS growth for years to come.

While not cheap, Chipotle trades at a reasonable valuation given its stellar growth history and prospects. The potential for a future stock split adds appeal for retail investors who may otherwise be unable to afford full shares at the current lofty price.

Frequently Ask Questions

What is a stock split?

A stock split is when a company increases its total number of outstanding shares by dividing each existing share into multiple new shares. For example, in a 2-for-1 split, an investor who owned 1 share worth $100 would now own 2 shares worth $50 each.

How would a split impact Chipotle investors?

A stock split would make Chipotle’s shares more affordable and accessible for retail investors. The extremely high current share price of over $2,300 puts full shares out of reach for many smaller investors. A 5-for-1 or 10-for-1 split would reduce the share price proportionately and open up ownership opportunities.

Does a split change a stock’s value?

No, a stock split does not change the total value of the company or investment. It simply divides the shares outstanding into more units and adjusts the price accordingly. The market cap remains unchanged. An investor’s overall dollar value ownership is not affected.

When was Chipotle’s IPO and how has the stock performed since?

Chipotle went public in January 2006 at an IPO price of $22 per share. The stock has returned over 23,000% since the IPO, skyrocketing to nearly $2,300 per share without any splits along the way.

Why does Chipotle have power to raise prices?

Chipotle has strong pricing power because customers perceive its food as higher quality and are willing to pay premium prices. Factors like responsibly sourced ingredients, customization, and a fast-casual dining experience give Chipotle leverage to charge more without hurting demand.

Could a split signal a buying opportunity in the stock?

Stock splits often precede additional share price increases. By making the stock more accessible, a split can attract renewed investor interest. So a Chipotle split in 2024 could foreshadow another leg up.

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Ajit Kushwaha is a stock market investor and business owner of a chips manufacturing company in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand, India. He holds a Bsc. from Vinobha Bhave University and leverages over 5 years of stock market experience in managing investments and his snack food business.
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