Woman walks out of a Chipotle restaurant in Washington
New York - AFP
Marisol has already worked at McDonald's before, so another fast-food job wouldn't seem like a great change.
She was one of thousands around the country who lined up for an opening at a Chipotle restaurant on Thursday. The booming Tex-Mex fast-food chain is promising better-paying entry jobs assembling burritos but also greater chance for advancement.
Chipotle's 1,850 restaurants spent the morning in a cram effort to hire 4,000 new workers to staff a rapid expansion, as it adds 200 more outlets this year.
Thirty-ish Marisol, who was in line outside a Chipotle outlet near Times Square, was one of some 60,000 people nationwide who signed up for the speed interviews, according to company spokesman Chris Arnold.
"I've never been in their stores," she said, but her friend, who works at a Chipotle, encouraged her. After her turn inside with the management, she came out to report that the interview "was good."
Built on a pitch of fresh, organic and locally sourced ingredients for its burrito wraps and tacos, the thriving US chain is making clear it is not ready to ease up on expansion plans.
While its prices are higher than McDonald's or Burger King, it has eroded the market share of both fast-food giants in cities and suburbs. Chipotle however has not ventured out into more rural America where the burger joints, along with other giants like KFC and Wendy's, are omnipresent.
The company promises entry-level staff around $10 an hour with health insurance, paid time off and sick leave, better than many other fast-food chains.
It also stresses that promotions were more common among its staff, with 95 percent of managers coming from restaurant staff rather than being hired from the outside.
But even with that, turnover rises to 100 percent a year in its restaurants, according to the company.
"We are constantly looking for great people to join our team. Regardless of your background or experience, you can succeed at Chipotle if you have a passion for making the people around you better," said co-chief executive Monty Moran in a statement when the jobs fair was first announced.
"Working here isn't just a job, but a career where employees learn how to make others better, run a successful business, master culinary skills, and most importantly, lead teams of top performers."
The system of vetting tens of thousands of applicants in a few hours raised some questions of how the company will choose the right people.
But the manager of another branch in New York, who insisted on anonymity due to company policy, said decisions will be made based on "elements we gathered during the interview."