Are you looking for a job in fast food, but trying to avoid the old cliché burger-flipping McJob experience? Well, maybe a job at Chipotle could be the answer for you.
Chipotle was opened in Denver, Colorado in 1993. Founder Steve Ells was a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and had worked several years in an up-scale San Francisco restaurant. Noting the popularity of the jumbo-sized “San Francisco burrito”, he decided to try a new restaurant concept based around such foods.
With a major investment from McDonald’s corporation in 1998, Chipotle had the funds for rapid expansion, going from 16 restaurants to over 500 in seven years. In 2006, McDonald’s sold its shares in Chipotle, along with its holdings in all other non-core restaurants such as Boston Market. As of April of this year (2012), Chipotle has over 1250 restaurants, which serve an estimated three-quarters of a million customers every day.
In an interesting contrast to most restaurants, fast food or otherwise, Chipotle states that they actually prefer to hire applicants without previous experience, and train them from scratch. They also claim that a whopping 97% of their managers are promoted from crew positions. For this reason, virtually the only starting positions available on the restaurant side are “Restaurant Team Member – Crew”. This is where virtually everyone starts, and it includes all aspects of the restaurant’s day to day operation.
There are also corporate job openings, which means working from one of the corporate offices, but such openings are few and far between. When they do exist, most are exactly the same as any other corporate office jobs. One of the interesting exceptions is a job they call “Facilities Specialist”, which involves teaching and overseeing the maintenance and repair of store facilities, along with actually performing some minor repairs. This position is also responsible for making a once-per-year walkthrough of each restaurant, in which a comprehensive survey of maintenance and repair issues is conducted.
Another of the unique jobs at corporate is called “Licensing Coordinator”, which is a job concerned with obtaining and renewing all the various licenses and permits which a restaurant needs to operate, including health permits, liquor licenses, alarm and fire system permits, etc. This position is also responsible for seeing that such licenses are renewed on time , and that appropriate payments are made in a timely manner.
Based upon anonymous employee feedback, Chipotle has an employee satisfaction rating that is fairly mediocre overall, but actually pretty good for jobs of this sort. Let’s face it, restaurant work is demanding and stressful, wherever you are. In contrast to this so-so employee satisfaction rating, a solid 77% of current and former employees say they “approve of” CEO Steve Ells.
Opinions vary on the healthiness of Chipotle’s foods. Some sources note that their average burrito contains over 1,000 calories and a high level of salt. On the other hand, the same sources admit that their burritos are also high in fiber and protein.
Getting That Job At Chipotle
The Chipotle Career site is here . Once you arrive at the page, you can change to Spanish, if you’re more comfortable, by clicking “En Español” at the top center of the page. After that, you can click the links at the right of the page to search either Corporate Jobs or Restaurant Jobs. I suggest starting with the restaurant jobs. Having arrived at that page, select the first tab, (Zip/Postal Code Radius), and choose your country from the dropdown box, then enter your zip code to the right of that. Next enter the distance you’re willing to commute, and you can change from miles to kilometers if you prefer. As soon as you’ve done all that, a list of the “sites” or restaurants within your designated area will appear. Tick the boxes next to the ones you’d be willing to work at, and click the Search button. As an example, when I performed the above procedure, I found an opening for “Restaurant Team Member – Crew” within 2 miles of my house.
And now, a few bits and pieces that may help you get that job at Chipotle –
- Average wage for a crew member is $8.52 per hour, with reports varying from a low of $8.00 per hour to a high of $10.00 per hour.
- Average wage for a kitchen manager is $10.26 per hour, with reports varying from a low of $9.00 per hour to a high of $13.00 per hour.
- Some applicants report an interval as long as a month between applying online and being emailed for an interview. Others report being called on the phone almost immediately.
- First interview is a pre-screening, and usually lasts only 5 or 10 minutes. Many applicants report that they were never contacted again after this. Those who pass the pre-screen will be invited back for an in-depth interview with the General Manager of that restaurant. If that interview goes well, the applicant is often asked to go in the back and “get to know the crew”.
- Most applicants report that initial interview questions are of the generic “getting to know you” sort.
- Sample interview question – “Tell us about the history of the company”.
- Sample interview question – “Do you know about Chipotle’s mission?”.
- Sample interview question – “If your best friend was here, what would they say about you?”.
- Sample interview question – “How would you describe yourself in one word?”.
- Sample interview question – “Why do you want to work here?”
So, there you have a short summary of Chipotle and their unique business model. If you are just starting out your career, this could be an excellent opportunity for you to work your way up to a really nice job some day. Just don’t eat too many of those burritos yourself.