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Chipotle will award crew bonuses of up to a month’s pay

The bonus package is targeted at part-time employees and comes amid persistent labor shortages.
Photograph courtesy of Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle Mexican Grill is trying something novel to attract workers and improve operations: more money.

The Newport Beach, Calif.-based chain said Tuesday that it is debuting a new quarterly bonus program that awards bonuses equal to a week’s pay to crew members on teams that meet certain sales, cash flow and throughput targets.

Over the course of the year, employees could receive up to a month’s worth of extra pay on top of their existing compensation and benefits.

The bonus structure is designed to help the 2,500-unit company attract and retain top workers, while ensuring that they are “as passionate about their work experience as guests are about their food.”

The bonuses are offered quarterly and are calculated based on an employee’s average weekly pay per quarter. The program is already in place and qualifying restaurants will be notified in July for the first round of bonus payments.

“At Chipotle, we’re not only looking to compete for the industry’s best, we’re looking to keep the industry’s best,” said Marissa Andrada, Chipotle’s chief people officer, in a statement.

The program comes as restaurant chains have increasingly upped the ante in their bid to attract and retain employees. Chains are offering new incentive programs, tuition reimbursement and upgraded benefits as they compete for a dwindling supply of available employees.

They are also increasing pay—rising labor costs have been a persistent challenge for restaurant chains in recent years.

Chipotle has numerous benefits of its own. Employees who have a minimum of one year of service can receive annual bonuses based on tenure. The company also offers paid meal breaks, free English as a second language classes for employees and family members, tuition reimbursement of up to $5,250 a year, dental, vision and medical insurance.

For the company, keeping workers is paramount to its growth. It said it promoted 13,689 employees last year alone, and 80% of the company’s general managers have been promoted from within, frequently starting as crew members.

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