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Chipotle Prices ‘Likely’ to Increase in 2013

Higher dairy and meat costs could push prices higher later this year, a company official said.

Chipotle Prices ‘Likely’ to Increase in 2013

Lunch might cost a little more at Chipotle locations such as those in Temecula and Murrieta later this year thanks to higher dairy and meat costs, the company announced Thursday.

"While we haven't made any decisions yet, the fact that our food costs are rising—it is more likely that we'll raise prices in 2013," Chief Financial Officer Jack Hartung told investors at a conference Thursday.

[ Watch and listen to the webcast here.]

"We're not going to rush into it," Hartung said, adding that higher prices likely wouldn't come until the middle of the year.

The CFO said inflation in the cost of dairy in the fourth quarter opened the company to the idea of menu price increases in the third quarter of 2013, though officials are hopeful inflation will level off later this year.

Hartung, in the presentation, didn't detail how much prices could go up at the restaurant now in its 20th year.

Chipotle opened 183 new restaurants last year, officials said, and expect to open more this year. Next month, a new vegetarian option—shredded organic tofu called "sofritas"—will debut in San Francisco with possible expansion into other markets.

Chipotle CEO Steve Ells said the restaurant serves almost 1 million customers each day.

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