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By Julie Waite (employee 1+ year)
So you got a job at Chipotle? Congratulations! You are now employed at one of the largest new fast food restaurants in the world! This friendly guide will help you through your first few weeks with us at Chipotle.
You should try to get to work at least 20 minutes early. Mostly everyone does it1, and as a rule, if you don’t, you’ll have a pretty crappy day. When you get to work, (20 minutes early, of course), you can get your free employee meal2. I wouldn’t suggest that if you’ll be working 8 hours. Regardless of how many hours you work, you still get one free meal. However, if you’re working an “eight,” I would suggest that you save your large free meal for your lunch3. After all the hard work, you’re going to need it. A little known fact is that if you do find yourself working an 8 hour shift, you also get one “small” meal for free. This could be two tacos, a quesadilla, or just some chips and guac. If you’re seriously famished before your shift, get one of these meals4. Before your clock in, make sure that you are completely in dress code. You should be wearing your company t-shirt that was given to you when you were hired5. You may wear a
The people who don’t do it are usually the ones who run in to work looking disheveled and flustered. Those people comprise most of the regular staff. I am the odd one, arriving almost an hour early at times, mostly by accident, filling my time watching movies on my phone or hiding in a corner reading a book. My coworkers think I’m weird to get to work so early, but I call it preparation. 2 This is especially useful when your parents refuse to buy any food that your stomach will hold down during a heavy eight hour shift. 3 Your lunch could occur anywhere between the hours of 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. I think lunch is too broad a term. Often I find myself eating “breakfast”, a meal I force down only an hour after I have started working, or a “famine buster” which is a meal I eat after working seven and an half hours and the manager on duty forgot to give me my lunch break. 4 See Footnote 2 5 My company-supplied t-shirt is covered in guacamole, oil and other miscellaneous stains that will never come out in the wash. It happens to the best of us. I am still holding out for when I will finally get one of the new, spiffy,
long-sleeved shirt underneath if it does not have a collar and the sleeves must be rolled up above the elbows6. You may not wear a sweatshirt of any kind. You may wear blue jeans, work pants like Dickies, or shorts of any kind as long as the fall below the knee7. Your pants must not be frayed or tattered and must be clean8. Your shirt must be tucked into your pants at all times. You must wear your company-purchased non-slip shoes from Shoes for Crews. If you have not received your shoes yet or have forgotten to wear them, you may borrow a pair of slippers which you put over your everyday shoes9. Men’s facial hair must be groomed and women must have their hair in a braid or bun. You must wear your company-issued baseball cap, facing forward, with hair tucked behind your ears. Dress code must be followed at all times, except during breaks. Make sure to clock in on time. If you clock in early, this causes a problem with the managers, often resulting in unintentional overtime10. Always clock in on the back register to avoid backing up the front cashier. Try to use your employee card11 to clock in and out and to go on your breaks. Only the kitchen staff should have to manually punch in your number. When you are hired you will be given an auto-retract card holder12. This should always be clipped to your belt loop for easy access. After you clock in you should put on a black apron and prepare to get on the line. You may want to do one more sweep of your wardrobe to make sure everything is up
BLACK t-shirts! 6 The only day I wear a long-sleeved shirt to work is on days that I know I will have to go outside in the freezing cold and driving rain to break down the umbrellas on the patio. I am tall and usually get stuck with this job. 7 I hate long shorts, and can’t bring myself to purchase them. When the days eventually get too hot to bear and I admit defeat, I will usually roll up my jeans, revealing the surprisingly ugly work shoes we have to wear. It looks kind of weird, but I have reached the conclusion that to work in comfort usually requires looking somewhat weird. 8 Regardless of if they are tattered or not, by the end of the shift, they will be soaking wet. I still think that the only reason we have to wear non-slip shoes is because everyone has the terrible habit of pouring water on the floor! Not only to clean, but while washing dishes and the occasional salsa spillage. If the floors were dry, there would be no need to non-slip shoes and my pant legs would always be dry. 9 It’s hard to say what the worst part of these slippers is. Could it be how they magically take away any support you may have gotten from your everyday shoes? Or maybe how they only come in two sizes: too big and too small. Or it could be that I am the only one who ever washes them out after I use them. The rest of them have all kinds of nasty stuck underneath, much like your regular shoes, but these are shared among the entire staff. I try at all costs to wear my own shoes. 10 Unless you arrive early, like me, and a manager spots you and forces you to clock in early, interrupting your prework resting period. Then you must clock in on time, and make sure to remind each shift manager that you did so at least five times, to make sure that you don’t get in trouble for being forced to take overtime. Remember: everything is always your fault. 11 Which is essential for you to use, but you probably won’t get one until after a few weeks of being yelled at for not using one. Believe me, it is as confusing as it sounds. 12 Huge shocker: you probably won’t get a “zippy” for months after you start working. Even then, you’ll probably either have to beg your boss for one to the point of annoying, or go out and purchase one yourself. A Zippy isn’t required, but I found that when your employee card is not on a Zippy, it is a lot easier to forget at home, causing you to have to drive all the way home again to grab the card before rushing to work, violating my personal 20 minute rule.
to standard before heading out13. If you happen to pass a manager before you get to the line, you may ask them where they would like you to work14. If not, you should proceed to the front line to wash your hands. You must wash your hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds, making sure to scrub under the nails and up the forearm, almost to the elbow15. Dry your hands and arms thoroughly and put on a pair of gloves. The gloves come in three sizes and are ambidextrous16. Once you have gloves on, proceed to the line. There are four positions that you may find yourself working, each with its own challenges and benefits. Those positions are Tortilla, Meats, Salsas, and Rolling. The position you work will either be determined by the manager on duty or, (if no manager is available17), by the positions already held by the senior crew members. These crew members may direct you to a position18, or you may fill in at either Meats or Salsas until direction is given to you. The Tortilla position is the most important position with regard to line regulation19. The person working the tortilla presses decides how fast to move people through the line. When working the Tortilla position, you may choose to use one or two tortilla presses. When using only one press, you are only able to help one person at a time. This strategy is good when only a few crew members are on the line with you and they can only handle so much volume20. Under the tortilla presses are six boxes of tortillas, two pans of soft flour tacos, and a sleeve each of bowls and lids21. You should always have one pack of tortillas open under the #1 press, a pack of both flour and corn taco tortillas, a stack of kids meal trays, and a stack each of bowls and lids at your disposal on top of the tortilla table. From the Tortilla position, you are responsible for starting every order. Your “jurisdiction” extends only until the next position that is being manned. The next position is Meats. This position is what I like to call “the heat of the battle.”22 You are responsible for putting beans and meat in every customer’s order. You must know the heat level of all of the meats, and it is often helpful to give customers this information by way of
When I first started working, I would always forget some part of my wardrobe. My hat, my tucked shirt, most often I would forget my apron. My coworkers would get so annoyed at me having to go back to grab one. 14 I seriously doubt this would happen. At any one time, if you’re looking for a manager, you’ll probably find them reclining in the office “finishing some paperwork,” “counting the money,” or ambling around the back of the house “doing inventory.” Hardly ever will your manager be where you need them to be: on the line or in the kitchen. 15 I can guarantee that no one washes their hands with this much detail. There is no way that could happen when there is a line out the door and you have to wash your hands, (as per company policy), at the top of the hour. I dare you to spend more than a simple scrub-scrub-scrub on this task. 16 The three sizes are: huge and easy to put on when there are no paper towels left, slightly large and easy to put on when all you have time for is a quick once-over with a paper towel, and optimal but only when hands are bone dry. 17 Which frequently occurs. 18 Read: order forcibly because new hires frequently appear as chickens with their heads cut off. 19 Which means that no new hire should EVER occupy this position unless it is an emergency. 20 Or when everyone else has called in sick on a Friday night and you are the only crew member responsible for the entire store. 21 If you’re lucky. 22 Another position that should never be occupied by a new hire. They can’t be trusted.
a scale. Always remember: from most mild to most spicy, the meats are Carnitas (shredded pork), Chicken, Barbacoa (shredded beef), and Steak. When serving beans and meats, try to serve as close to four ounces as possible. This is called portion control. Some customers may ask for extra meat. You may offer to add a little extra, (less than half a spoonful), at no extra charge, or to double the meat for a few dollars extra23. If you double the meat, make sure to pass this information along to the next person on the line. In addition to serving the customer’s, you must always make sure that you are stocked in rice, beans, and meats. Be sure to call food when it begins to look low24. When you call food, make sure that the cook calls the food back to you to confirm. This is called echoing. You will also echo when the cook calls finished food. When this happens, the correct response is a simple “thank you” to acknowledge that you heard the call. You must then add the old food to the top of the new food on the back table and return it to the line25. The first position on the cold side of the line is Salsas. From this position you have command of our selection of four salsas, sour cream, cheese, guacamole, and lettuce. When asking the customer which salsa they prefer, always say, “would you like Fresh Tomato, Medium Green Tomatillo, Roasted Poblano and Corn, or Hot Red Tomatillo salsa?” while pointing at each salsa in turn26. Customers may have more than one salsa in their item, or they may ask for extra of one or more salsas, either of which you may give them at no extra charge27. They may also request a salsa on the side, which is also no extra charge. Sides of salsa must be placed in a four ounce soufflé cup with the lid securely attached. You will then offer the customer sour cream and cheese, after which you will ask “anything else?” If the customer requests guacamole, remind them at there is an extra charge and ask if they are alright with it. If they are, you may add it in, preferably in a line alongside the rest of the food, as opposed to right
It seems bad, but I judge people. I don’t know how many people come into the restaurant who are obviously overweight and ask for double meat. I almost feel like giving them a look that says “are you sure”, but all I can say is “that’s an extra charge. Is that alright?” with a cautious inflection. Sometimes I hear the cooks mumble to themselves about how disgusted they are. 24 This is one thing that a new hire is least likely to do. I believe that a new hire is more likely to fall flat on their face and do the worm across the kitchen than to call meats on time. This is the main reason for the statement in Footnote 21. 25 You should try not to drop hot beans all over the floor when you’re trying to get them back to the line. When I first started the pan was so hot, my instinct was to just drop the pan. That was one of the worst decisions I have ever made. On a side note: bean juice is really hard to get out of jeans. 26 From personal experience, this hardly ever happens. Almost all the time, by the end of my shift, all I feel like saying is “what do you want?” while half-heartedly gesturing to the salsas. The correct words only exit my mouth when my sixth sense kicks in and I know one of my bosses is close by. 27 One of the worst orders you could ever get is one with all the salsas, especially with no rice and an especially juicy scoop of meat. Firstly: to put all the salsas on takes FOREVER, in the most tedious way possible. Secondly: these burritos are HELL IN A TORTILLA to roll. You try rolling just a bunch of salsas inside a tortilla. I heard about a company Christmas party one year where there was a competition to roll a burrito with three raw eggs and a scoop of mashed potatoes. Even this is better than all those salsas.
in the middle. You should try to add all of the requested ingredients yourself, to allow the person in the Rolling position to concentrate fully on their tasks28. At the “end of the line” so to speak, is the Rolling position. If you are not put in this position when you first begin, fear not. The Rolling position is the hardest position on the line to master29. It takes a lot of practice to learn how to roll a burrito, so you should not get too frustrated when you cannot do it the first, second, or even tenth time! Although the instructions sound easy, those who can roll a burrito well have developed the muscle memory over a long period of time30. To roll a burrito, you must first focus on the burrito itself, ignoring the foil underneath. First you pick up the sides of the tortilla and squish the ingredients to the middle. Then pick up the top and bottom and fold them together to find the exact center. Lay the top over the bottom and with one hand, pull the tortilla and ingredients tight into a tube. Fold one side in, then the other. You should now have two hands on the burrito. Begin to roll the burrito up, using your pinkies to tuck the loose edges back in. when the burrito is rolled, replace it in the middle of the foil and repeat the process with the foil wrapper. Finally, you must mark each burrito and each to go item with the kind of meat inside: “C” for chicken, “CA” for carnitas, “B” for barbacoa, “S” for steak, and “V” for vegetarian31. If the item was a salad, add an “e” after the meat. If the item had guacamole, add a “g” after the meat. If there was double meat on the item, just put a circle around the meat letter. Some customers may order less than the standard order of tacos. On these you must write “2CT” to stand for two chicken tacos. Once the item is properly wrapped and marked, you must pass it down to the cashier, who will ring up the customers32. Being a cashier will probably not happen to you until you have been working for a few months. It is imperative that you know the ins and outs of the line before taking on the responsibility of ringing up customers. When you are finally awarded a cash drawer of your own, you will be one of the busiest crew members in the store33! You must ring customers up, package their order, ask for additional items, all while charging them the correct amount. First, greet the customer with a bright and cheery inflection34. Then, ask them how many items they are
Or you could be like some of the new hires and magically forget about the item right after they slather the thing with salsas, leaving me to deal with five or six orders to deal with, instead of just letting me roll the things and be done with them. 29 Yet another position a new hire should never be on. So far, I haven’t found one position that I would trust a new hire in. I think they should just stand out of the way and watch. Or better yet, just wash dishes and bus tables. 30 The following instructions are probably extremely difficult to understand. I think the only way to really learn how to roll a burrito is like how I learned: by being stuck at the end of the line and learning just to survive. Eventually I think your instincts kick in and you can roll a half decent burrito. 31 These distinctions are surprisingly mystifying to customers. I have had lots of customers that ask me, “what’s that mean? ‘C’? Is that because this is Chipotle?” to which I patiently answer, “Would you like me to write a name on this burrito?” Sometimes my customers are so dumb… 32 Or, as is common, you could just shove it into the ever growing pile of items waiting to be rung up by a cashier desperately trying to ring up an angry, confused, or goldfish-brained customer. This is most helpful as it only serves to increase the stress of your cashier. 33 Especially when dealing with the person described in the previous footnote. 34 Which is almost totally the opposite of the inflection the customer will probably give you. You can expect to get reactions ranging from mildly pissed off at high prices, to horrified that they have to pay $70 to feed their entire
purchasing and if their order is “for here or to go”. Based on if they eat in the store or not, you may place their order on a tray, (located below the cup holders), or in a bag, (either next to the cash register or next to the trays). Three items will fit on a tray comfortably, with additional cups and chips held by the customer. Drinks and chips are not included with a regular order, so the customer must specify if they wish to purchase these items35. You should ask the customer if they would like to add chips or drinks to their order. Add all of the customer’s items to the order on the cash register, including specialty items like quesadillas and kids meals, completing all screen prompts with the customer. Finally, select the Order Mode, (for here or to go), at the bottom36, repeat the order total to the customer, and complete payment. Congratulations! You have completed your first order! You deserve a break37. The company pays you for all of your breaks, including your 30 minute lunch. If you are working between 3 and 5 hours, you will receive only one 10 minute break. You may order food before starting your break if you are using your employee meal. If you are working more than five hours, you will be given two 10 minute breaks and one 30 minute break. You may eat one large and one small meal on these breaks, as long as the line is open and staffed. Remember to use the back register to clock out on all of your breaks38. The register will print out a receipt with information regarding your break. Pay special attention to the time you must return from your break and be sure to come back on time. Finally! Your shift is over! You have successfully completed another work day at Chipotle and you are probably pretty tired39. If you were a cashier, make sure that before you leave, a manager has counted your drawer and placed it in the safe40. You should also try to straighten up and stock your station, or the whole line if you have time, before the next shift starts, making it easier on everyone41. When you have been cleared by a manager to leave42, you may use the back register to clock out. The register will print out a receipt with information
extended family. Don’t we give bulk discounts? No, but we sure expect more than that 32 cent tip. 35 Fortunately I have only had one customer argue with me about whether chips and guac were included with her meal. After explaining to her that they aren’t, and pointing out that nowhere on the menu does it suggest a meal option, she halfheartedly agreed with me enough to hand me her credit card and be done with the whole ordeal. 36 After being there for almost a year, I have come to see the “Here” or “To Go” buttons as a joke. For example, we cannot give alcoholic items to customers who have ordered to go, but sometimes I will hit the To Go button to get a good chuckle. Sometimes I wonder if the managers ever notice and get freaked out that I may have allowed a customer to leave the restaurant with an open Bud Light. 37 Note that “deserve” and “get” are on two ends of the spectrum here. 38 This trick only works on your first day: on my first day, no one showed me how to clock in and out on a break. When someone yelled for me to take a ten minute break, I just went and came back ten minutes after I left. Later, they found out that I hadn’t clocked out and just sent me on one more. An extra ten minutes of paid breaks is certainly a win in my book. 39 Read: exhausted. 40 Preferably this happens more than three minutes before you have to clock out. Notice that preferably is not the same as probably. 41 This is almost laughable. I have never started a shift with my station stocked. It’s like the previous shift forgets that the restaurant is still open after they leave. 42 Unlike some people who think its ok to just leave without checking with anyone first. Once we searched for one of my coworkers for half an hour before we found out he just clocked out without telling anyone.
regarding the hours you worked and breaks you took that day, as well as the hours you have worked so far in the current week. Try to keep this receipt for your records so you may double check your paychecks when they come every two weeks43. The workday is done, and you can feel proud that you work with such a great, honest company. Go home, get gussied up, go out and have fun44! You deserve it45! You worked long and hard today, so you should go have some fun! We will see you on your next scheduled shift, 20 minutes early46!
Although the hour stubs say to keep them for your records, almost all of mine make it as far as my car and then they get lost in the accumulation of 4-6 stubs a day, 5 days a week. I would never know if my paycheck were right or not. Personally, I always think they’re too low, but this could be due to the government taking out something like 67% of my check for some sort of retirement fund. I think it’s all bogus. I just want my money. 44 Hardly ever have I ended a shift by going out. Most of the time I go home exhausted and smelling like beans, rice, and bleach and just wanting a shower. On a side note, I am told that the lingering smell on my body after a long shift has a new name: Eau De Chipotle 45 Emphasis on the word DESERVE. 46 I have recently been informed that I hardly ever arrive at work 20 minutes early. In fact, it has come to my attention that I put off leaving for work until the point that I am that person erratically rushing into work looking disheveled and confused. I guess even getting to work early is only wishful thinking.
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