Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol told Yahoo Finance that he’s “disappointed” that a Michigan location choose to unionize earlier this year.
On August 25, a Lansing store unionized via a 11-3 vote with 2 contested ballots — the first union at the fast food chain. “I was disappointed to see that happen,” Niccol said at Yahoo Finance’s All Market Summit.
“I really don’t think we need a third party to get between our restaurant teams and our company. We do a better job of communicating directly with our employees on what it takes to be successful at our company, what it takes to have a great work environment, and what it takes to provide a great customer experience,” Niccol said.
Despite his disappointment, Niccol said he will sit down to bargain in good faith with the new members of the Teamsters Local 243. “Obviously, we’ll go through the process that we need to,” he added.
That being said, he hopes going to maintain a direct relationship with all employees.
“Hopefully going forward, you know, we’ll continue to be able to communicate directly with our employees and grow our employees with that direct communication,” Niccol said.
In early May 2021, Chipotle announced plans to increase its wage to an average of $15 per an hour by June 2021. This resulted in its employees wages ranging from $11-$18 per hour.
The company hopes to attract new talent as it ramps up expansion plans with other benefits like health care, a mental health assistance program, and debt-free college degrees.
“I’m 100% confident we will get these restaurants staffed,” adding “what we stand for will attract the right employees.”
As of June 30th, 2022, the end of Chipotle’s second quarter, there were more than 3,000 total locations and over 100,000 employees. By the end of this year, the fast casual chain forecasted 235 to 250 new restaurant openings.
As the company looks to build the staff for the new spots, he added that career growth for its crew members is top of mind too.
“Ninety percent of our promotions come from within,” Niccol said, adding that a “key piece for us is developing them (employees), training them, so that then they become future leaders as we grow this company.”
Brooke DiPalma is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at email@example.com.
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