It has been a rough month for Chipotle Mexican Grill. First, there was a norovirus outbreak at a Virgina restaurant. Then, a video of rodents in one of the fresh-food restaurant’s Texas outposts went viral on social media. Stocks fell and Goldman Sachs decided to cut price targets, which reports say has already cost Chipotle $1.1 billion in market cap. Consumer sentiment has waivered and, for some, Taco Tuesdays just aren’t the same.
However, one vital element of the brand has remained strong: employee culture. And executives are leaning on their employees now more than ever to bolster the brand.
This week, a service member in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma shared, “The environment is upbeat, and fast paced. They are always pushing you to do better, and the benefits, and promotions will not be overlooked if you’re a good worker.” Citing a “good outlook” on the company and noting an approval of the CEO, he/she added, “Definitely fast paced, can be hard to keep up with everything. But if you have good management, and a team that cares, it’s awesome.” Another member of the restaurant crew in Liberty Township, Ohio told Chipotle management, “Keep up the good work.” Chipotle has a 3.5 overall company rating that has remained steady over the past year, and high ratings for culture & values, career opportunities, and compensation. The average company rating on Glassdoor is a 3.3 (based on a 5-point scale: 1.0=very dissatisfied, 3.0=OK, 5.0=very satisfied).
From educational assistance programs to promoting over 11,000 people last year, Chipotle is proving its dedication to professional and personal development for all of its full and part-time employees. Additionally, the restaurant is looking to hire over 5,000 team members and open new locations in Maryland, New York, North Carolina, California, and Vancouver this summer.
To dig further into what makes Chipotle a great employer and how it continues to invest in its employees to overcome the public turmoil, I spoke with Chipotle’s recruitment marketing strategist Elizabeth Skinner. Here she gets candid about what makes the company thrive.
Glassdoor: Employees love working at Chipotle as we see the strong rating on Glassdoor – How does your executive team make this a great place to work day in and day out?
Elizabeth Skinner: At Chipotle, we’re committed to helping our employees grow their career each and every day – we’ll make sure you’re never bored! Our comprehensive training program will coach you through all your responsibilities in the restaurant – from preparing fresh ingredients and using classic cooking techniques to serving up a great guest experience on the line. We even have iPads in each restaurant with instructional videos to support your training.
Glassdoor: Promoting over 11,000 people in one year is huge. Why is Chipotle an amazing place for someone to build a career over the long term?
Elizabeth Skinner: One of the best parts about building a career at Chipotle is that there’s always more to learn and room to grow. As a new member of the team, you’re given a crash course in business and culinary training. You’ll learn skills like building sales, properly dicing an onion (tear-free!), and taking inventory – but that’s just the beginning. Once you become a manager, you’ll be running a multi-million-dollar business and focus on mentoring a team of 30 or so employees. The best part? Our mentors receive a bonus each time they help a team member reach General Manager and beyond. When they grow, so do you.
Glassdoor: What do you look for in candidates when hiring? Prove 3 or 4 traits or skills that are vital to being successful at Chipotle.
Elizabeth Skinner: We don’t require Crew members to have previous work experience before joining our team. Instead, we’re focused on finding candidates who are passionate, eager to learn, and work well with others – all qualities that are vital to delivering an excellent guest experience.
Glassdoor: What is the biggest misconception candidates have about interviewing at your company?
Elizabeth Skinner: Many of our team members come to Chipotle just looking for a job to pay the bills. It doesn’t take long for them to realize that we offer much more than that, however. Chipotle is committed to giving all employees the opportunity to build a career – fast. On average, the journey from Crew to General Manager takes a little more than three years.
Glassdoor: What are 3 to 5 interview questions you ask all candidates?
Elizabeth Skinner: In our interviews, we’re really looking to learn more about who you are. What are you passionate about? Do you work well with others? Where do you see yourself in a year? We also place great value on our guest service. I’d expect a few questions on that, too!