The fast food industry has been seeing infamously high employee turnover rates during the last few years.
While American unemployment is at a 50-year low, turnover at low-wage positions, particularly in the fast food industry, is becoming a more serious problem. In an apparent attempt to retain more experienced employees, Chipotle has expanded its benefits. The chain is now offering employees free tuition at select colleges.
Chipotle unveiled its new plan on Tuesday, when the company pledged to cover the tuition costs for 75 types of business and technology degrees. The programs they’ve offered to cover include programs offered at the University of Arizona, Wilmington University, and the Southern New Hampshire University. This offer applies to all Chipotle employees who have been working for the company for at least 120 days.
The chain restaurant is trying to reverse the current trend of unsustainably high turnover rates in the fast food industry. Unemployment is low, but annual turnover at fast food chains is typically 150% or higher. Seeing as unnemployment is at only 3.5% nationwide, it’s clear that the fast food industry is facing one of the most severe labor shortages in recent history. “We think it’s a way to hold on to great people and make an investment in our future leaders,” said Marissa Andrada, Chipotle’s chief people officer.