We've noted many times on this blog that Chipotle's growth has been outright explosive over the past years, far exceeding the success of any other restaurant chain over the past five years. But a strange thing has happened in recent months. The company's market capitalization has hit a lull.
From our first day day of action -- October 19, 2013 -- to today, Chipotle's share price has gone from $509 to $489, a drop of 4% in the span of a few months. In the year prior to October 19, 2013, Chipotle's stock price increased from $243 to $509 -- an increase of 109%. It would be foolhardy to attribute this massive change to any one factor. But increasing scrutiny of the company's sterling brand surely plays some role in that shift.
We can see that in the market's response to today's announcement of "Farmed and Dangerous" -- the new advertising/miniseries hybrid that shows, in the company's words, "what they are doing to make a better world." Despite receiving glowing front page coverage in the nation's flagship paper -- a coup by even Chipotle's standards -- the market responded with a thud. The share price dropped by $3.19, amounting to a nearly $100 million drop in the company's value. (Contrast this with the impact of Netflix's initial announcement of its own pioneering original programming, Orange is the New Black, which led to an increase in value of around $130 million.)
It's far too soon to tell if something has changed. But the numbers certainly seem to suggest that something is afoot. And perhaps, as we have suggested here, the public is starting to catch on to the substance behind Chipotle's marketing lies.