Chipotle restaurant workers fill orders for customers in Miami, Florida.
Photograph by Joe Raedle — Getty Images
By John Kell
June 8, 2015

Chipotle Mexican Grill next month is planning to offer tuition reimbursement and paid vacation days to part-time employees, making the fast-casual chain the latest to tout expanded perks in a move to lure and retain top talent.

The benefits, reported by Nation’s Restaurant News and confirmed via e-mail by a Chipotle (CMG) spokesman, will start July 1 and also include sick pay. A Chipotle spokesman wasn’t immediately able to comment on if the restaurant chain’s full tuition reimbursements came with any stipulations. Those perks had previously only been given to salaried workers, but will now expand to all that the restaurant chain employs.

Why offer the costly perks? Well, according to one recruitment strategy manager quoted by Nation’s Restaurant News, the benefits will help Chipotle recruit high school and college students. Those students are “a lot” of the demographic the restaurant company courts for entry-level positions.

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This is also part of a broader trend. Coffee giant Starbucks (SBUX), car maker Chrysler and health insurance company Anthem also have put in place free tuition programs. Labor experts have noted that expanded perks, as well as higher wages for some minimum-wage jobs in the retail and restaurant space, have been a response to a tighter labor market. Those companies are thus fighting for the best talent, rather than counting on a large pool of applicants to cherry pick from.

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