The fast-casual restaurant chain announced their menu items would cost an average of 4 percent higher

By Madison Roberts
June 09, 2021 02:33 PM
Credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty

If you're heading to Chipotle, expect to shell out a little extra money for that burrito.

According to NBC News, the fast-casual eatery announced they would be raising prices by an estimated 4 percent to cover the cost of higher employee wages. During the Baird Global Consumer, Technology & Services Conference, Chipotle executives doubled down on their initiative to raise hourly pay for employees to be an average of $15 per hour by the end of June. According to Fox Business, the previous average wage of Chipotle restaurant workers was $13 per hour.

"It feels like the right thing, at the right time, and it feels like the industry is now going to have to either do something similar or play some kind of catch-up," Jack Hartung, Chipotle CFO, reportedly said at the virtual conference. "Otherwise you'll just lose the staffing again."

According to NBC, Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol said he would rather not raise prices of the restaurant's popular menu items like burritos, bowls and quesadillas, but ultimately decided to proceed with the increase.

"It made sense in this scenario to invest in our employees and get these restaurants staffed and make sure that we have the pipeline of people to support our growth," Niccol said. "And then with that, we've taken some pricing to cover some of that investment." 

Chipotle has been experimenting with new menu options over the past year, testing smoked brisket in some markets and adding quesadillas and cilantro-lime cauliflower rice to their permanent offerings.

Similar to the chain's original white rice, the cauliflower rice - which costs an additional $2 - is seasoned with freshly chopped cilantro, lime juice, and salt. And with 4 grams of carbs per serving, the new option is perfect for diners on ketoWhole30paleo, vegan, and vegetarian diets.

"Chipotle fans have been craving more plant-powered, better-for-you options that align with the latest health trends and emphasize the benefits of real food," Chris Brandt, Chief Marketing Officer, said in a press release. "That's why we are thrilled to offer Cauliflower Rice nationally and help our fans achieve their diet or lifestyle goals."