Chipotle Is Raising Menu Prices & Blaming It On “Employee Costs”

Next time you head to Chipotle, guac won’t be the only thing that costs a little extra. Your whole burrito bowl will, too. As of Tuesday, the burrito chain’s menu costs have risen by around 4%, following worker demands for increased wages and better labor conditions. At a virtual press conference on Tuesday, Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol said the company’s executives “really prefer not to” hike up prices, “but it made sense in this scenario to invest in our employees and get these restaurants staffed, and make sure we had the pipeline of people to support our growth.”

Chipotle announced in May that workers would receive an average payment of $15 an hour by the end of June. In a statement to Refinery29, a spokesperson confirmed that the menu price increase would “help off-set the wage increase that Chipotle is now offering its employees.” In other words, the marginally higher menu prices — Niccol said the price increase is akin to “quarters and dimes that we’re layering in” — will go towards fairly compensating current and future employees.

Many outlets ran with this reasoning: Reuters reported that “Chipotle raises menu prices as employee costs increase,” and the New York Times cited “labor costs” as the reason for the spike. But this frames the updated menu costs as a sacrifice consumers will have to make so that the chain’s workers — whose employer makes tens of millions a year — can earn a living wage. In reality, Chipotle’s executives should have been paying their workers appropriately all along.

“Chipotle is a multibillion-dollar company with one of the highest-paid CEOs on the planet,” Kyle Bragg, President of a New York-based branch of the Service Employees International Union, told Jacobin in May. “But it still pays most of its workers across the country less than $15 an hour.”

Niccol’s salary has only continued to grow over time. In 2020, Niccol received the highest compensation he’s made since he took over the reins as CEO in 2018. Per Newsweek, he was paid $38 million — a sharp increase from the $14.8 million he would have made if not for the pandemic-related modifications Chipotle implemented. This means Niccol made 2,898 times more than the median Chipotle employee in 2020, and actually earned more money during the pandemic than he would have had it not happened. Other executives, including CFO Jack Hartung, CTO Curt Garner, and Chief Restaurant Officer Scott Boatwright, also received pay increases last year.

Employees, meanwhile, saw their salaries go down. Chipotle confirmed to Newsweek that the average worker took a pay decrease as a result of government-mandated shutdowns and COVID-19 safety measures. A representative clarified, though, that Chipotle workers still made more than their peers working …read more

Source:: Refinery29


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