Panera or Chipotle: Where Should an Investor Dine?

December 27, 2012 |

Two popular lunch spots among the Stock Rover team are Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) and Panera Bread (PNRA). We enjoy the food at both restaurants, but lately, we find ourselves at Panera much more often—the lines move quickly, the staff is supremely friendly, and the menu has a variety of appealing options. Meanwhile, the service at our local Chipotle is hit-or-miss, the menu—while highly customizable—doesn’t stray from the same flavor profile, and portion sizes are invariably enormous.

So I’ve been wondering, is this preference merely a reflection of our personal tastes and the particular locations we visit, or—from an investment perspective—does it signal something larger? Over the long term, which is a better investment, CMG or PNRA?

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