Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This report includes statements of our expectations, intentions, plans and beliefs that constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and that are intended to come within the safe harbor protection provided by those sections. These statements, which involve risks and uncertainties, relate to the discussion of our business strategies and our expectations concerning future operations, margins, profitability, trends, liquidity and capital resources and to analyses and other information that are based on forecasts of future results and estimates of amounts not yet determinable. Forward-looking statements include, among others, forecasts of the number of restaurants we expect to open in 2018; statements regarding the effectiveness of our food safety systems and procedures; statements about the potential impact of catering and delivery offerings and technology initiatives; projections of comparable restaurant sales increases and sales trends we expect for 2018; forecasts of trends in general and administrative expenses, restaurant development costs, and other expenses for 2018; estimates of expected effective tax rates for the year; statements about possible repurchases of our common stock; projections of planned capital expenditures; and other statements of our expectations and plans. We have used words such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “think,” “estimate,” “seek,” “expect,” “predict,” “could,” “project,” “potential” and other similar terms and phrases, including references to assumptions, in this report to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made based on expectations and beliefs concerning future events affecting us and are subject to risks and uncertainties relating to our operations and business environments, all of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control, that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those matters expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include those listed in Item 1A. “Risk Factors,” and elsewhere in this report.
When considering forward-looking statements in this report or that we make in other reports or statements, you should keep in mind the cautionary statements in this report and future reports we file with the SEC. New risks and uncertainties arise from time to time, and we cannot predict when they may arise or how they may affect us. We assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statements after the date of this report as a result of new information, future events or other developments, except as required by applicable laws and regulations.
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., a Delaware corporation, together with its subsidiaries (“Chipotle”, “we”, “us”, or “our”) operates Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants, which serve a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla) and salads, made using fresh ingredients. As of December 31, 2017, we operated 2,363 Chipotle restaurants throughout the United States, as well as 37 international Chipotle restaurants, and we also had eight non-Chipotle restaurants. We focus on finding fresh, high-quality raw ingredients to make great tasting food prepared using classic cooking methods; on building strong restaurant teams that are centered on providing an excellent guest experience; on building restaurants that are operationally efficient and aesthetically pleasing; and on doing all of this with the highest regard for the safety of our customers and with a continuing awareness of and respect for the environment. We have grown substantially over the past five years, and expect to open between 130 and 150 new restaurants in 2018, representing a slight reduction in our rate of new openings as we focus our resources on improving our operations and delivering an outstanding experience to every one of our guests.
Throughout our history, we have pursued a mission to change the way people think about and eat fast food. The fast food landscape has changed dramatically over Chipotle’s 24-year history suggesting that we may have achieved this mission, with a number of concepts built using service and sourcing formats that closely resemble ours – with more selective sourcing, food prepared on-site, and a service model that allows customers to choose exactly what they eat. Looking at what we have accomplished, we have reenvisioned our purpose, and are working to Cultivate nourished communities where wholesome food is enjoyed every day. We are also aiming to simplify our business focus, to emphasize only those things that result in an excellent guest experience in our restaurants.
We transitioned the management of our restaurants from eleven to nine regions during the fourth quarter of 2017 and we aggregate our operations into one reportable segment. Financial information about our operations, including our revenues and net income for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016, and 2015, and our total assets as of December 31, 2017 and 2016, is included in our consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes in Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.” Substantially all of our revenues are generated and assets are located in the U.S. For a discussion of risks related to our international