William Blair survey shows modest Chipotle sentiment improvement
William Blair analyst Sharon Zackfia says her firm's latest survey of 800 adults showed "modest improvement" in food safety concerns relating to Chipotle Mexican Grill. The percent of respondents "not worried at all" or "not very worried" about food safety hit a survey high of 60%, while the percent of "very worried" respondents stabilized in the 12% to 14% range since June, Zackfia tells investors in a research note. The analyst, however, points out that the percent of respondents eating less frequently at Chipotle remains "persistently high" at 45%, essentially showing no real sustainable improvement since April. Zackfia expects Chipotle's comp sales to stay "significantly negative" through October. The analyst keeps an Outperform rating on the shares.