Chipotle pays more than $700,000 toward worker bonuses

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More than 2,600 Chipotle employees are a week’s worth of pay richer and executives say they’re loaded with happy employees since the chain paid more than $700,000 toward worker bonuses.

Chipotle announced in June that part-time employees at all 2,500 global locations are eligible to participate in a new bonus program, that could potentially pay them an extra week’s pay each quarter. The bonuses are distributed to restaurant crews that meet sales goals as a team. Tuesday marked the program’s first bonus pay day for staffers at the 135 qualified restaurants.

“We are strategically investing in our people by giving all employees the opportunity to earn a performance bonus and it’s paying off,” says Marissa Andrada, chief people officer of Chipotle. “It’s exciting to see how many locations qualified and the high level of engagement from our restaurant teams.”

A major goal of the bonus program is employee retention, Chipotle executives say. Now the company says manager and employee turnover rates are already lower, although it declined to provide the data.

While employees qualify for the bonus as a team, the amounts divvied out are individualized based on the number of hours worked by each employee. All of Chipotle’s restaurants have the opportunity to earn the same bonus in the next quarter, which ends in September. Individual restaurants are able to receive the bonus each quarter as long as they meet the predetermined sales goals.

“Our team works hard every single day. From mashing avocados to servicing the line, everyone is focused on working together to provide the best possible guest experience,” says Angel Zuniga, general manager of the Bristol Center Chipotle in Santa Ana, California. “The all-crew bonus reinforced the sense of pride and passion for what we do and how we do it.”

The food industry is notorious for high turnover, which is why Chipotle offers its employees benefit programs that go beyond standard medical, dental and vision insurance, says Scott Scansen, Chipotle's senior director of total rewards.

“With current employment rates so low, today’s workforce has options and can afford to be selective,” Scansen says. “To remain competitive, Chipotle offers all employees best-in-class benefits and opportunities for growth, with a focus on development and promoting from within.”

The company’s 70,000 global employees also have access to benefits such as bonus programs based on performance and tenure, annual college tuition reimbursements, free shift meals and free English as a second language classes for employees and their families.

“At Chipotle, we’re not only looking to compete for the industry’s best, we’re looking to keep the industry’s best,” says Andrada “This bonus program provides a strategic investment in the people who make up the brand.”

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