Chipotle Co-CEO Wants Workers To Climb Their Corporate Ladder

The competition to bring customers into fast food restaurants is getting tougher, especially with many people searching for healthier food options.  While companies like McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) are struggling to keep up, Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) is seeing green.  But, the company doesn’t just focus on food. Their unique recipe for success can be attributed to the employees.

“We go out and seek to hire the absolute very best people we can,” said Chipotle co-CEO Monty Moran.  “We empower them to be at their best, and in doing so, we create a workforce of people who are really pursuing that vision.”

A common complaint about fast food or fast casual restaurants is low salaries. Chipotle’s philosophy focuses more on developing long-term careers for its employees.

“It’s important what you pay people at the beginning, but it’s way more important what kind of opportunity you give them,” said Moran. “We love to see people at the crew position who, after six months or a year, are already in the management positions.”

So what does the company pay their employees?  According to Chipotle, a crew member can make an annual average total of $21,000, which includes compensation and benefits.  A general manager can earn about $63,000 in total compensation and benefits, which include educational assistance and vacation.

Since Chipotle owns all its restaurants and doesn’t sell franchises, the closest position to owner would be “restaurateur.” These individuals and their teams must be accepted into the company program by senior executives. Compensation for those employees can total near $100,000. Restaurateurs also receive stock appreciation rights. Shares of Chipotle have gained nearly 20% over the past year and are trading around $657 a share, much higher than many of its rivals.