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Restaurants

Chipotle reveals record profits, set to open 200 locations next year

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 (AP Photo)

Chipotle released its third-quarter financial report for this year on Monday and the chain was ecstatic to reveal profits for the Mexican chain were even higher than expected.

The Mexican food chain said sales rose 19.8 percent at restaurants open at least a year for its third quarter.

Steve Ells, the CEO of the fast growing fast food restaurant, credited the company’s dynamic vision to the continuing record profits.

“The way we source, prepare and serve our food; the way we hire, develop and empower our people; and the way we operate our business is very different than the traditional fast food model,” Ells stated in the release.

“Recent industry trends suggest the Chipotle model is resonating with customers, who are realizing there are better alternatives to traditional fast food.”

The better-than-expected performance comes as traditional fast-food chains such as McDonald's and Burger King have struggled to boost sales in the U.S. Chipotle has sought to set itself apart by marketing its ingredients as being superior, including with its "Food with Integrity" slogan. People also like that they can walk down a line and dictate the toppings that go on their dishes.

In the first nine months of 2014, Chipotle opened 132 new locations. In 2015, the company said it expects to open “180 – 205” restaurants.

Despite this ambitious growth, the company does not expect to maintain the same level of momentum. Looking ahead to 2015, Chipotle Mexican Grill said it expects sales at established locations to rise in the low- to mid-single digits.

Its shares fell 2.8 percent to $634.50 in after-hours trading. Shares of the Denver-based company have increased 22 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has risen 3 percent.

Chipotle, which has more than 1,700 locations, said its price increases helped offset its rising costs for ingredients including beef, avocados and dairy during the quarter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.