Chipotle to tie employees' pay to customer service in comeback move
- Chipotle, the Mexican fast food chain, is tying employees’ compensation to the level of customer service they provide, Loyalty360 reports. The restaurant’s troubles last year with food safety and brand loyalty prompted the move.
- Reactions to the news from experts cited by Loyalty360 ranged widely. One source said that Chipotle's decision would potentially "create more risk than reward." Another said the move could "kick-start a virtuous cycle of good customer service and greater revenue."
- Chipotle CEO Steve Ells previously said that the company plans to enhance customers’ experience, which includes expanding its menu and stepping up its promotion of digital ordering.
Chipotle now joins Microsoft in tying employee compensation to some kind of performance. Other companies have done the same, but fast food workers aren’t generally the kind of high earners found at Microsoft.
It's now just over a year since Chipotle closed some 2,000 of its restaurants for a day of training in light of a food safety scare. That event was a case study in promoting employee ambassadors and workforce engagement. A pay increase on a relatively low wage that is contingent on customers’ patronage could be demoralizing, exactly the opposite of what the company has worked toward.
Turnover also tends to be high in fast-food establishments, leaving a short window in which to evaluate performance. Alternatively, Chipotle and its fast food competitors have found that offering direct benefits and higher base wages can help boost their business' bottom line.