Chipotle Joins Starbucks on Tuition Reimbursement


Chipotle Mexican Grill recently announced that its entry level employees will begin to be eligible for some of the same benefits as salaried employees on July 1, including paid time off and tuition reimbursement.

The new benefit will see 90% of an employee’s tuition, books and fees paid for by the company up to what the Internal Revenue Service allows — a maximum of $5,250 per year. Crew cashier and takeout specialists will become eligible after one year of service to the company, while all hourly managers and salaried employees will not have to wait to cash in.

J.D. Cummings, a recruitment strategy manager at Chipotle, said the company hopes to attract more high school and college students, which are the “target demographics” for staff.  Cummings added that the company hopes the additional benefits will help employees to advance their careers and allow them to become managers or even franchise owner, writes Ben Rooney for KMOV.

“We are always working to attract and retain the very best employees we can, and to helping develop our people so they can achieve their full potential,” said Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold in an email to “As part of that effort, we are changing our benefits package,” he said.

Other restaurant chains have implemented similar benefits for their workers.  Earlier this year, Starbucks announced it will cover four years of tuition costs for the online program at Arizona State University as part of their “Starbucks College Achievement Plan.”  The opportunity is open to both full time and part time employees, allowing workers to earn a free bachelor’s degree while earning money.  The offer was previously limited to juniors and seniors.

McDonald’s also recently announced changes for employees at company-owned restaurants, with about 10% of its restaurants raising the minimum wage earned to $1 over the local minimum wage starting July 1.  In addition, full and part-time employees who have been with the company for at least one year will begin to earn paid time off, reports Susanna Kim for ABC.

Chipotle remained fairly tight-lipped concerning the details of its new benefits package when it was announced during a conference presentation.  There has not been a press release as of yet, nor has there been any word concerning a raise in hourly wages for employees, reports Heesun Wee for CNBC.

Chipotle co-CEO Monty Moran reported the average hourly salary at the company to be around $9.  He added that while increasing that number to $10 would have some effect, it would not be “too significant.”

“These benefit changes come in addition to offering extraordinary opportunities,” said Arnold of Chipotle. “Right now, more than 90 percent of our managers come from within the ranks of our crews. Last year alone, we promoted more than 10,500 people who started as crew into management positions,” he said.