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With sales up 6.2 percent in the third quarter, burrito chain Chipotle surpassed expectations. Chipotle also said it intends to keep prices in the single digits through early next year, although rising food costs will require an eventual price hike.
"This is joyous call. You've got same-store sales moving up to the mid-single digits," CNBC's Jim Cramer said. "There's a lot of things things they're able to do to basically please the food crowd because they're very much involved with the food chain."
Cramer also praised Chipotle's brand and company management.
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"This food with integrity is clearly working," he said. "Take a look at the chop house—lines around the block from where they have them. [But they're] not going to rush international."
In building its domestic base, Chipotle is tapping into food trends among young people, including the braised tofu-chili sofrita burrito for vegetarian customers.
"Once again you're reminded this company has fabulous management even at the store level," Cramer said. "This company should go to Congress and say here's how it's done."
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From a Chipotle conference call transcript, Cramer noted the company CEOs work hard to satisfy consumer-level concerns, including long lines and produce that is free of genetically modified organisms. Chipotle founder Steve Ells emphasized brand image in videos, while co-CEO Monty Moran reminded the company of its four pillars. As outlined in Chipotle's online company profile, these goals are providing quality food, rapid service, a new fast food experience, and a capable team.
"They are forward looking, and that's the secret to them," Cramer said.
—By Evelyn Cheng, special to CNBC