The idea of a federal minimum wage increase is gaining steam and it seems like President Joe Biden’s administration might be able to actually get the thing pushed through. There are a lot of opinions about what the new minimum wage should be, but the number that gets thrown around the most is $15 per hour. Wherever the final number lands, we can all agree that the current Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25 an hour is not liveable by any metric.
To prepare for an increase, fast food giants like Chipotle are treating some sort of bump as an inevitability. During the company’s quarterly earnings call on Wednesday, Chipotle’s CFO Jack Hartung indicated that the chain was well prepared to manage an increase in worker’s wages, noting that the average hourly minimum wage for a Chipotle employee was already $13 an hour.
“We’re not that far off of, for example, a $15 number,” Hartung said. “But let’s say, for example, that there’s going to be an across-the-board 10% increase in our wages… that would, to offset that with menu pricing, take us 2% to 3% price increase… All of that is very manageable.”
According to Business Insider, the average Chipotle visit costs a single guest $11, so a 2% to 3% price increase would make your burrito and a drink cost an additional $.20 to $.35 cents. It’s a tiny hit that you will be able to manage thanks to all the new money you’re making! Business Insider also notes that a $15 minimum wage would require the company to boost average employee wages by over 15% and starting wages by about 35%, so clearly Chipotle isn’t offsetting the cost of a wage increase with price increases alone.
But maybe… since Chipotle is going to start charging us more, could they give us some piping hot food instead of keeping their proteins just warm? Also — just spitballing here — maybe they could save some money but not squeezing a million limes into a single bag of chips? Regardless, shouts to them for being so close to a living wage already. That’s a good sign for a chain that’s had a tough half-decade.