Career Development and Employee Motivation Initiatives at Chipotle

Case Details Case Introduction 1 Case Introduction 2 Case Excerpts

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The Chipotle Culture

Analysts attributed Chipotle’s strong performance and growth partly to its performance-based culture, which allowed employees to develop by taking on new and different tasks. Chipotle instilled a company-wide culture of employee development and promotion from within, they said. The culture at Chipotle acknowledged the contribution of each of its employees and offered real opportunity for growth.

The work environment at its outlets was exciting and encouraging. Chipotle believed that creating a performance-based culture would create the best restaurant experience possible for its employees and customers. Keeping that in mind, the fast-casual chain developed a human resources strategy based on the idea of promoting employees from within by offering them multiple opportunities........

Human Resource and Organization Behavior Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Human Resource and Organization Behavior, Case Studies
Human Resource and Organization Behavior Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Human Resource and Organization Behavior, Case Studies
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Hiring And Promoting From Within

While hiring, the management at Chipotle did not primarily focus on their applicants’ qualification and experience, but on certain personality traits that each candidate must possess. The fast food chain came up with a list of 13 characteristics that every prospective Chipotle employee had to have. These were “conscientious, respectful, hospitable, high energy, infectiously enthusiastic, happy, presentable, smart, polite, motivated, ambitious, curious, and honest.......

The Restaurateur Program

In order to reward and empower its best employees, Chipotle started a unique training program called the Restaurateur Program in 2005. The Restaurateur Program identified and promoted the best people from within and gave talented workers a clear path to advancement within the company. Talking about the aim of the program, Arnold said, “Before the Restaurateur program started about three years ago, we were taking our very best managers, people who were sort of by nature ambitious and wanted more respect and all of that, and were promoting them to multi-unit positions.....

Employee Benefits

According to some employees, the work environment at Chipotle was fast paced and exciting. The chain provided a healthy work-life balance and a rewarding career to its employees. Employees were offered competitive salaries, compensation, bonuses and promotions, as well as benefits such as health insurance, a 401(k) plan, free meals, and uniforms. For the salaried positions, Chipotle offered pet insurance, adoption assistance, a two-month paid vacation, wellness programs, and a discounted employee stock purchase plan.......


However, not all the employees of Chipotle were happy with the company’s policies. Some of them complained that the chain was not employee-friendly and that they were underpaid for the amount of work they were expected to do. Some employees charged that the work life balance was bad and that they had very long working hours. They criticized what they called the fast paced environment and the demanding 10-12-hour shifts without breaks to eat. “Full-time effort for part-time pay,” complained a crew member in Brunswick, Ohio.....

The Road Ahead

In the third quarter ended September 30, 2014, the chain’s revenue increased by 31.1% to US$1.08 billion when compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. Net income was US$130.8 million, an increase of 56.9%. The chain opened 43 new restaurants during the quarter. For the nine months ended September 30, 2014, revenue increased 28.2% to US$3.04 billion compared to the same period in the earlier year. Net income was US$324.1 million (Refer to Exhibit V for income statement of Chipotle). ....


Exhibit I: Selected Financial Data of Chipotle from 2009 to 2013 (figures in US$ million)
Exhibit II: Chipotle Career Path
Exhibit III: Real Stories of Chipotle Employees
Exhibit IV:The Restaurateur Program
Exhibit V:Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. - Consolidated Statement of Income(In thousands of US Dollars, except per share data)