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Chipotle Plans One-Day, 4,000-Worker Hiring Binge

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. CMG -2.06 % plans to hire 4,000 employees in a single day next month, seeking to counter a tightening market for restaurant labor by dangling the possibility that high-performing recruits could someday earn six-figure salaries and stock in the burrito chain.

The planned Sept. 9 hiring binge—which would expand Chipotle’s 59,000-member workforce by nearly 7%—is one of the starkest examples yet of restaurant chains stepping up recruitment efforts as the industry struggles to attract and retain employees. A stronger economy, rising demand for restaurant meals and a string of minimum-wage increases imposed by cities and states have shrunk the pool of available workers.

“The economy has been thawing, more restaurants are opening, and there are fewer job applicants than there were several years ago,” said Monty Moran, co-chief executive of Chipotle.

Chipotle, too, has beefed up benefits. It has expanded college-tuition reimbursement to all hourly workers, added paid sick days and increased the amount of paid vacation it offers.

Average U.S. hourly wages for production and nonsupervisory employees in limited-service restaurants rose 3.3% to $9.62 an hour in June, compared with a year earlier, according to Labor Department data. That exceeded the 2% growth for the same period in wages for similar jobs in the private sector overall, including restaurants. The number of employees in limited-service restaurant jobs rose 3.7% in June from a year earlier, outpacing the 2.5% growth in total private-sector jobs.

Chipotle plans to promote next month’s career day...


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