Chipotle Mexican Grill is raising its average hourly wage to $15 by the end of next month, up from the current pay of $13 an hour, the chain announced Monday.
The compensation bump comes as the restaurant industry faces unprecedented labor challenges as business ramps up for a post-COVID world. Chipotle needs to hire 20,000 new employees this year, the chain said.
Chipotle is also debuting a $200 employee referral bonus for hourly workers and a $750 referral bonus for apprentices or general managers.
The wage increases, which will apply to new and existing hourly and salaried Chipotle workers, will be introduced “over the next few weeks” and will result in starting hourly wages ranging from $11 to $18 an hour, the fast casual said in a statement.
Chipotle also highlighted the fact that top-level store managers have been able to make an average of $100,000 in less than four years for quite some time.
"Chipotle is committed to providing industry-leading benefits and accelerated growth opportunities, and we hope to attract even more talent by showcasing the potential income that can be achieved in a few short years," Marissa Andrada, Chipotle’s chief diversity, inclusion and people officer, said in a statement.
The Newport Beach, Calif.-based brand, which plans to open 200 new restaurants this year, is hosting a virtual career fair on the community app Discord from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pacific time Thursday. The event will include recruitment content and live sessions with Chipotle employees to discuss benefits and career paths, along with cooking demos.
In addition to a tough hiring climate, Chipotle is facing other labor woes. Late last month, New York City filed a fair work week suit against the chain that could force it to pay $450 million in back pay and civil penalties. The complaint alleges that Chipotle did not provide written work schedules, did not provide advance notice of schedules, did not provide schedule change premiums or obtain written consent for additional hours, among other issues.
In January 2020, Chipotle was cited $1.37 million in restitution and penalties for more than 13,000 child labor violations and wage infractions in Massachusetts. As part of that case, the chain voluntarily paid $500,000 toward a fund to educate young workers about child labor laws.
The story has been updated with new details from Chipotle.