Chipotle raises average wage to $15 an hour in effort to hire 20,000 workers

Burrito maker Chipotle is hiring 20,000 workers for peak season in an effort to staff 200 new restaurants it plans to open this year, the company said.

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In an already tough hiring market, Chipotle plans to raise wages to an average of $15 an hour by the end of June. Starting pay ranges from $11 to $18 an hour. The raises will increase the average hourly wage by $2 an hour.

To help with recruiting, the company is also offering employees a $200 referral bonus for line workers and $750 for apprentices or general managers. The restaurant offers benefits including mental health care, 401(k) plans, and college degrees debt-free through accredited schools.

“We are sharing with people that it’s not just a job right now, but it’s actually a job that can lead to a meaningful career,” Brian Niccol, Chipotle CEO, told CNBC.

The restaurant plans to hold a virtual career fair Thursday on Discord, an online community platform.

Chipotle joins other fast food restaurants looking to increase staff as dining rooms start to open across the country.