Chipotle announced Thursday the restaurant chain is looking to hire 15,000 people in North America to ensure its stores have enough employees as they enter their busy season.
The company said in a statement that it was preparing for what it described as “burrito season,” which lasts from March to May when the chain is typically the busiest.
“We will continue bringing in new crew to support Chipotle’s aggressive growth plans,” Scott Boatwright, Chipotle’s chief restaurant officer, said in a statement.
According to the company’s third-quarter earnings report, Chipotle employs more than 100,000 employees at nearly 3,100 restaurants in North America. The chain wants to more than double its restaurants in the coming years, according to company officials.
The hiring announcement comes as restaurants across the country have struggled to get staff levels back to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.
Restaurants have been adding employees for 24 consecutive months, but have yet to reach the employment levels they had before the pandemic, according to the National Restaurant Association.
Staffing remains significantly below necessary levels, the NRA reported restaurant owners as saying in a November survey by the association.
“Among restaurants that are currently understaffed, 62% of operators said their restaurant is more than 10% below necessary staffing levels. Twenty percent of these operators are more than 20% below necessary staffing levels,” the NRA said.
In the November survey, 87% of operators who responded said they will hire additional employees in the next year if they find qualified applicants.