Operations

Chipotle cuts 25 jobs from corporate support centers

A reorganization in May also included adding new roles in an ongoing effort to deliver on aggressive growth goals, the company said.
Chipotle exterior
The reorganization in May was similar to a move five years ago, the company said./Photo: Shutterstock.

Despite better than expected results in the first quarter and cautious optimism about the year ahead, Chipotle Mexican Grill reorganized its corporate support center staff last month, resulting in the net loss of 25 positions.

Rumors about layoffs at the fast-casual chain’s corporate offices have been circulating on social media for weeks. When asked about the posts, Laurie Schalow, Chipotle’s chief corporate affairs officer, said in a statement that the chain conducted an in-depth review of its business needs and organizational structure over the past several months “to ensure we can deliver on our aggressive goals for future growth.”

As a result, she added, “We have added new roles and invested in areas of our business, like Development, International, Digital Marketing, Data and Analytics, and Food Safety, restructured teams for efficiencies and also eliminated some roles.”

The net impact was about 25 roles being eliminated at the company’s support centers in Newport Beach, Calif., and in Columbus, Ohio, the statement said.

The company has also asked remote workers to return to offices four days a week, Schalow said. Restaurant support center employees are required to be in the office Monday through Thursday, with Friday being flex for those who prefer to work remote.

Schalow said the reorganization in May was similar to an effort conducted five years ago.

In 2018, the company announced a growth-driven turnaround plan, in which CEO Brian Niccol envisioned a future with Chipotle more than doubling its business at the time to $10 billion in revenue.

That effort included moving Chipotle’s corporate headquarters from Denver to Newport Beach, with some functions consolidated in the Columbus office. The move impacted about 400 employees over the course of six months, some of which were relocated. After the transition, offices in Denver and New York City were closed.

Niccol’s vision of five years ago is now within reach. Fiscal 2022 revenues were up 14.4% to $8.6 billion. The 3,200-unit chain is pushing to reach 7,000 units across North America, though officials have not given a timeline for that growth.

During the last earnings call in April, CFO Jack Hartung said he was cautiously optimistic about the macroeconomic climate, saying Chipotle had the financial wherewithal to ride out a couple of tough quarters, if necessary.

In addition, according to a report in Bloomberg, Tawanda Starms, Chipotle’s vice president of people experience and chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, is leaving the company, and Roger Theodoredis, the chain’s chief legal officer, will take on some of her duties.

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