Chipotle raises average hourly wage, looks to hire 20,000 workers

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(Reuters) -Burrito chain Chipotle Mexican Grill said on Monday it plans to hire 20,000 more employees and will raise the average hourly wage to $15 by the end of June, as fast-food chains in the United States scramble to reopen dine-in services with the easing of pandemic curbs.

Several U.S. restaurant chains, including Taco Bell and McDonald's, are adding benefits or running hiring events to lure applicants as people, flushed with stimulus checks, are wary of returning to work.

Subway said in a statement on Monday it was looking to hire 40,000 new employees in the United States in May.

U.S. job growth unexpectedly slowed in April, even as the leisure and hospitality industry added 331,000 jobs. Hiring at restaurants and bars accounted for more than half of that.

Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour has also been on U.S. President Joe Biden's agenda. He had even tried to plug it into the COVID-19 relief bill signed in March, but Congress stripped it from the package.

Late last month his administration took the first step, signing an order to raise wages to $5 for federal workers. (

Chipotle said it would offer a $200 employee referral bonus for crew members and $750 for apprentices or general managers.

The starting wage ranges from $11-$18 and the latest average hourly wage increase will be $2, the company said.

The chain saw a surge in sales since the pandemic as consumers looking for diet-friendly options and new menu items like the carne asada or cauliflower rice ordered in or picked up their meals in stores.

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)