Labour Shortage: Chipotle needs 15,000

As the New Year begins, many restaurants are facing a familiar problem: labor shortages. Chipotle, a popular fast-food chain, recently announced that it is looking to hire 15,000 people in North America to ensure that its stores are staffed up ahead of its busy spring season. Other chains, such as Taco Bell and Starbucks, are also facing similar challenges as they look for workers.

According to the National Restaurant Association, US restaurants have added jobs for 24 consecutive months since the height of the pandemic. However, the industry is still struggling with a 3.6% lower employment rate compared to pre-pandemic levels, equivalent to 450,000 jobs. A survey conducted by the association in November revealed that 62% of restaurant operators said they did not have enough employees to meet customer demand, and 87% stated that they would hire additional employees in the next year if they found qualified applicants.

The shortage of workers is not limited to front-of-house positions, with many restaurants also facing difficulties in finding staff for back-of-house roles such as line cooks and dishwashers. Some restaurants have turned to raising pay and adding benefits to attract workers, but the competition for employees from other industries, such as delivery drivers, continues to be a challenge.

Despite these challenges, Chipotle is pushing forward with its hiring campaign, which will feature current employees discussing their career progression within the company. The chain’s Chief Restaurant Officer, Scott Boatwright, stated that the hiring push aims to ensure that stores are fully staffed between March and May, Chipotle’s busiest months. The company also plans to double its North American store count to 7,000 over the next several years.

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