In preparation for what Chipotle refers to as “burrito season,” a stretch that runs from March to May and is traditionally its busiest of the year, the chain said Wednesday it’s looking to hire 19,000 additional employees. As it does so, it will introduce a fresh suite of benefits catered to a growing Gen Z workforce built around financial and mental health. Additionally, for the first time, Chipotle plans to offer a Student Loan Retirement Match program and access to a high-tech Visa card that can build credit for employees.

Chipotle said more than 73 percent of its current force—a pool of some 110,000 people—are Gen Z. “Empowering our talent is embedded in our company’s culture,” Ilene Eskenazi, Chipotle’s chief human resources officer, said in a statement. “As we push toward our long-term goal of operating 7,000 restaurants in North America, it’s crucial that we listen to and adapt to the needs of our team members, so they can grow with us.” 

Chipotle noted Gen Z, a generation born in the late 1990s and early 2000s, faces “notable financial challenges,” including racking up credit card debt faster than previous generations (according to Credit Karma) and being nearly twice as likely as the general population to not feel confident managing their money (per the Intuit Prosperity Index Study from January 2023).

In turn, Chipotle launched a benefit designed to enable workers to pay off student debt while saving for retirement. Using SoFI’s Student Loan Verification service, once an employee becomes eligible for Chipotle’s 401(k) match, the chain will match up to 4 percent of an employee’s salary through contributions to their 401(k) if they make eligible student loan payments. The benefit solution, Chipotle said, was introduced in response to Congress’ approval of the Securing a Strong Retirement Act. It allows employees who qualify to no longer have to choose between paying off student debt or saving for retirement. They can do both.

MORE: A look back at Chipotle’s workforce, from turnover rates to pay

As noted, Chipotle employees will also now have access to a banking experience from that features a Visa card with security features, faster access to paychecks, and’s “Credit Optimizer.” The platform helps build and boost credit scores automatically, even for those who already have solid credit.

Chipotle’s partnership with SoFi will extend to offer employees access to the SoFi at Work Dashboard. The financial well-being education program includes an assessment of current financial outlook as well as suggestions and tools to improve.

Lastly, Chipotle’s new Employee Assistance Program, SupportLinc, powered by CuraLinc Healthcare, focuses on mental and emotional well-being. Employee can tap six free sessions with a licensed counselor or mental health coach in addition to tools, resources, and community support for legal, financial, and family matters.

Alongside these fresh benefits, Chipotle continues to promote career mobility as a draw. The company has a “Restaurateur” title employees can reach in as little as three and a half years. Those employees earn about $100,000 per year. Nearly 90 percent of current leadership in the company started as crew members and progressed through management roles. Last year, the chain promoted more than 26,000 workers.

“Today we have many examples of crew members rising through the ranks and now holding restaurant leadership roles, which are among the proudest accomplishments of this organization,” added COO Scott Boatwright. “With 2024’s ‘burrito season’ approaching, there are more career opportunities than ever at Chipotle.”   

Chipotle’s other offerings feature an all-crew bonus program, which allows restaurant employees the opportunity to earn up to an extra month’s worth of pay each year; access to mental health care and medical, dental and vision insurance; English as a second language for employees and their families; tuition reimbursement and debt-free college degrees; 401(k) with employer match; paid vacation and sick leave; flexible schedules, free meals and more.

Chipotle has faced high turnover rates in recent years as the industry’s workforce recalibrates in the wake of the pandemic. 

Turnover rates, and how they’re tracking:

Restaurant hourly (crew, kitchen leader, service leader)

  • 2022: 193 percent
  • 2021: 194 percent
  • 2020: 141 percent
  • 2018: 144 percent
  • 2017: 158 percent
  • 2016: 130.1 percent

Restaurant salary (apprentice, GM, restaurateur)

  • 2022: 44 percent
  • 2021: 43 percent
  • 2020: 31 percent
  • 2018: 49.1 percent
  • 2017: 37.1 percent
  • 2016: 38.1 percent

Restaurant field managers (field leaders, team directors, regional VP)

  • 2022: 19 percent
  • 2021: 21 percent
  • 2020: 16 percent
  • 2018: 26.3 percent
  • 2017: 18.7 percent

Senior management

  • 2022: 12 percent
  • 2021: 0 percent

In 2022, Chipotle’s rate of internal promotion was 90 percent, carrying over similar results from previous years. 

Employee Management, Fast Casual, Story, Chipotle