When guac costs more than college: How Chipotle boosted retention through education benefits
In 2016, Chipotle—like many other restaurant brands—was facing a retention problem. With low unemployment rates nationwide, many employers were starting to reexamine their benefits in an attempt to attract and retain talent in a tight labor market.
Chipotle was no exception. The company was seeing a turnover rate of 145% for hourly workers within the first six months on the job. Not only was the problem costing money, it was affecting restaurant operations such as customer service and efficiency.
Like many other restaurants and retail companies struggling with retention, Chipotle took a look at their benefits to see how they could improve their employer value proposition. The company already had a strong brand; customers and employees alike are drawn to Chipotle’s commitment to sustainability, quality, and ethical business practices.
To stay aligned with its mission, Chipotle decided to redesign and expand its tuition reimbursement program. They ended up transforming a legacy benefit into a best-in-class education and upskilling program featuring debt-free degrees—and hit 90% retention for those enrolled.