2018 proved to be a miserable year for the U.S. stock market. Out of the 505 companies in the S&P 500, only 160 managed to post a positive year in 2018 – less than a third.
Amidst such a challenging environment, Chipotle emerged as one of the best stocks of 2018 after its shares soared nearly 50% in 2018 — the stock's best performance since its 80% surge in 2013.
Chipotle’s investors scored big in 2018, thanks to the new CEO of the company, Brian Niccol, who not just helped reinvigorate investor confidence but also helped the stock grow nearly 67% since the announcement of him taking charge in February 2018.
After reaching its peak in August 2015 at $758.61 a share, currently trading at $431 a share, Chipotle’s shares came down the hill at an alarming rate and found it hard to regain customer trust after being hit by a series of foodborne illness outbreaks. But less than a year after taking the helm as CEO, Brian Niccol helped Chipotle regain its customers trust again and brought stability into its operation.
Since taking over, Niccol undertook several technological improvements such as upgrades to the company's mobile app, its internal software and in-restaurant technology – with an aim to remove friction in all aspects of the ordering and making process which would enable faster food delivery to its customers.
His sales growth strategy of building a culture of accountability helped the company bring back customers who had left the brand. His strategy to remind the customers what made them fall in love with Chipotle -- coupled with new marketing campaign -- helped grow same-store sales.