Chipotle Invests In Nuro In Autonomous Delivery Push

Chipotle Mexican Grill has invested in Nuro in its efforts to transform its digital business. Nuro is a market leader in autonomous delivery and uses robotics and occupantless vehicles for the safe delivery of everyday consumer goods.

Chipotle Mexican Grill’s (CMG) Chief Technology Officer, Curt Garner said, “We are always seeking opportunities that provide innovative solutions for increasing access and convenience for our guests. Nuro could change the traditional delivery model and we believe consumers are going to continue to seek options and additional access points for how and where they enjoy their food.”

Nuro Co-founder and President Dave Ferguson commented, “Nuro and Chipotle share the same commitment to improving everyday life through innovative products, whether it is through responsibly sourced food or autonomous delivery vehicles. With financial and strategic support from world-class companies like chipotle, we can continue to advance our industry-leading autonomous technology, grow our team and expand our delivery service.”

Notably, this is Chipotle’s first investment in a third-party technology company in the past three years and the company is keeping an eye on opportunities other than traditional third party partnerships.

Digital sales clocked a more than 174% year-on-year jump in 2020, where about 50% came from delivery. (See Chipotle Mexican Grill stock analysis on TipRanks)

On March 26, Cowen & Co analyst Andrew Charles reiterated a Buy rating on the stock with a $1900 price target (31.44% upside potential).  Charles sees “evidence of increased consumer spending driven by the passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.”

Charles added, “The current stimulus likely will be a boon for March and April sales in the restaurant industry, though this is more positive for U.S. focused co-operated models.”

Turning to rest of the Street, the stock has a Moderate Buy consensus rating alongside an average analyst price target of $1643.70 (13.7% upside potential) based on 15 Buys and 9 Holds. Shares have rallied 118.6% over the past year.

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