Chipotle's management practices lead to food safety risks, according to 47 current and past employees
- 47 Chipotle workers say the fast-casual restaurant's managerial pay bonus program, ineffective cleanliness audits, and pressure to work while sick have led to food safety risks at locations around New York City.
- Workers said that a program paying bonuses based on performance goals, including minimizing costs, create a "highly pressurized environment" that leads to cutting corners on food safety.
- They also said that managers "frequently know" when their location will be audited for cleanliness, and adhere to higher food safety protocols "when an audit is imminent."
- The workers were interviewed for a report by the National Consumers League and the local New York affiliate of the Service Employees International Union.
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47 current and former workers at Chipotle Mexican Grill locations across New York City say that the restaurant chain's managerial practices, including pay bonus programs, cleanliness audits, and sick leave policy, put food safety at risk.
In a report provided to Business Insider by the National Consumers League and the Service Employees International Union, workers said that bonuses paid to restaurant managers are based on performance goals "that include minimizing labor costs," creating a "highly pressurized environment." That pressure can lead to "cutting corners on food safety," workers said. Bloomberg previously reported on the workers' allegations on February 5.
Workers also said that managers at locations across New York City are often tipped off about when their restaurant will be audited for cleanliness, and that managers "have relaxed rule following outside of inspection periods" but increase food safety protocols "when an audit is imminent."
Chipotle told Business Insider that proper food safety procedures are a requirement for its bonus programs, and that the company is "committed to a culture of food safety in our restaurants where employees are supported and heard."
The fast-casual Mexican restaurant chain's sick-leave policy, which the report said allows three paid sick days per year but prevents employees from working within three days of experiencing symptoms like vomiting, encourages employees to work while sick, the workers said.
Workers also raised concerns about lack of training, understaffing, and aging equipment.
Chipotle said it will investigate each allegation from the report. Employees are encouraged to contact the company directly with concerns immediately and have access to an anonymous 800-number to provide information, Chipotle said.
The complaints from workers come as Chipotle has struggled to overcome skittish consumers since two E. coli outbreaks at the restaurant chain in 2015 and 2016.
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