Chipotle announced today it’s going on a hiring spree, planning to hire 4,000 people in just one day next month.
The burrito maker is pitching the jobs as the commencement of an entire career, instead of a short-term gig. Chipotle needs to make those jobs sound attractive because a tight labor market means there’s a lot of competition for restaurant workers right now.
“Heading into the fall is typically a time when we see something of a slowdown in the number of applications we receive, and yet our hiring needs really remain,” says Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold. He says that’s because many younger workers are quitting their summer jobs and heading back to school, and workers with kids may cut back on hours to be more available during the school year.
Chipotle’s pitch to hourly workers is that they could become managers, maybe netting a six-figure salary and a company car.
Chipotle compensation chart
“There’s a saying in the industry that you can go from the dish room to the boardroom, and that’s certainly true,” says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the National Restaurant Association’s research and knowledge group.
The association says about nine out of 10 managers in the restaurant industry started as hourly workers. But it’s rare for people to make the kind of money Chipotle’s talking about.
Robert Krzak is the president of Gecko Hospitality and recruits for restaurants, including Chipotle.
“It is a candidate-driven market. Candidates right now can choose from … an abundance of different opportunities right now, a different amount of offers.”
So it’s a tough time for everyone in the restaurant business, but Chipotle may have to work harder than its competitors: The company’s been embroiled in a number of class action lawsuits. Some promoted managers say they were pushed to work longer hours without compensation.
But the National Restaurant Association points out wages are rising faster in the restaurant industry compared to other sectors of the economy, making a career in fast food not a bad choice.
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