Chipotle Hopes To Hire 15,000 New Employees Ahead Of Burrito Season

A wise man by the name of Benjamin Franklin once said that the only guarantees in life are death and taxes (via First Exchange). But that was way back in 1789, long before the advent of fast food, and even longer before the advent of fast casual burritos. And what has become apparent in the intervening centuries is that speedy and satisfying endures like nobody's business, and on many levels at that.

To wit, even after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) started requiring fast food restaurants to post their menu nutrition information in 2018 – which could easily have had a dampening effect on consumers' hunger for the quick and indulgent – the nation's love of fast food not only endured but expanded, according to QSR magazine. Even as 20 million U.S. jobs evaporated in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, fast food chains continued hiring – en masse, per The Street.

More recently, even as 2023 has gotten off to a rather inauspicious start for the 68,000-plus tech workers who've been laid off since the first of the year, per Layoffs, Chipotle Mexican Grill, which The Street says ended up recruiting at least 8,000 new workers during the first two months of its spring/summer 2020 hiring campaign, has set its sights on the hiring of a generous slew of new team members, according to a company press release. Apparently, rumors of an impending recession have nothing on America's love for the quickly assembled but made-to-order burrito.

Chipotle's hungry to hire

The U.S. job market is a many-headed hydra, so despite the many layoffs already seen in January 2023, economists can't seem to agree on where it's headed – with one notable exception: the quick service food industry. It's in growth mode, as IBISWorld makes clear. But that's not news to Chipotle Mexican Grill. As MarketBeat points out, Chipotle has a "long history" of maintaining positive sales and profits even as American jobs evaporate, stocks take a bath, and the gross domestic product careens downward. Indeed, the fast-food bowl and burrito empire is, as of now, on a fresh campaign to hire 15,000 new team members, per Chipotle's January 26 press release.

Chipotle's current recruitment rush is being touted as just in time for "burrito season" – a three-month period beginning in March when, historically, Chipotle has enjoyed its highest sales volume, per the Denver Post. But it appears that Chipotle is thinking longer term than July 2023. Currently employing more than 100,000 workers at more than 3,000 locations – all of them company-owned – Chipotle aims to open 4,000 more locations, The New York Times reported earlier this week.

The time frame for said expansion has not been specified beyond a goal of 250-285 new stores during 2023, as Chain Store Age reported in February 2022. However, it appears Chipotle's efforts fit within growth plans dating back as far as 2019. That was when Chipotle debuted its debt-free education benefit for its employees, per CNBC.

Chipotle offers to groom crew members into managers

In an apparent attempt to get food to its customers without resorting to cartoon antics like those depicted on TikTok, Chipotle's been aggressively courting new hires for going on four years, per CNBC. As of 2019, Chipotle joined the likes of Amazon, Target, and Walmart, in offering education benefits to entice new upwardly mobile hires. Its current recruitment campaign features testimonials from six employees who stand as living proof that Chipotle is a great place to work because, among other things, it promotes from within and is willing to put its money where its mouth is by offering debt-free education to employees, including those looking to advance into managerial roles.

Education benefit programs have had their share of critics, including Peter Cappelli, director of Wharton's Center for Human Resources. Cappelli told CNBC in 2021 that few, if any, employees make use of them. However, the numbers don't lie: Chipotle has enjoyed great success in attracting employees through its debt-free education benefit, with employee retention rates two times higher for employees who make use of the program. The only wrinkle for current potential hires would appear to be whether their jobs will still be there after burrito season comes to a close in mid-summer.

Chipotle isn't making overpromises. But if Chipotle's track record of price-hike-proof earnings was to be regarded as an indicator, then the chain's aforementioned growth plans (via The New York Times) might appear to bode well.