+
Chipotle's decision to raise minimum wage to $15 may push other restaurants to follow suit
via Mike Mozart / Flickr

The Biden administration was prevented from inserting a $15 per-hour federal minimum wage in its $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package in February due to a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian. It was the closest the federal government has come to raising the minimum wage to a level that activists have been fighting for over the past decade.

However, an unusual set of circumstances have aligned that could push the private sector into creating a de facto $15 minimum wage without any government mandate.

The restaurant business was shaken on Monday when Chipotle announced it was raising its current average wage of $13 an hour by another two dollars, bringing it to around $15. The change should be in full effect by June.


The Newport Beach, California-based company currently has 2,800 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada and employs nearly 100,000 people. The chain is looking to expand by another 200 restaurants this year.

Chipotle made the move to get a competitive advantage over its fast-food rivals at a time when there is a labor shortage in the restaurant business. Many people in the industry lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and a lot of them aren't returning due to low wages, childcare conflicts, closed schools, and an increase in unemployment benefits.

The restaurant chain believes that it can pay for the increase in labor costs by raising the prices of its food by a modest 3%.

Chipotle hopes that a pay raise along with new programs that put employees on track to become store managers within four years, earning an attractive $100,000 a year salary, will lure the best employees away from other chains.

"Wage inflation is real and employee availability is very tough and Chipotle is trying to stay ahead of the curve and maintain its human capital advantage by moving average wages to $15/hour by June," explained Jefferies restaurant analyst Andy Barish in a research note to clients.

"This raises bigger questions as demand is surging and some people have left the industry and/or are on the 'sidelines,' given the current Federal unemployment supplements that run until September," Barish added.

Chipotle's move to stay ahead of the curve could prompt other businesses to raise their minimum wage to the $15 an hour range just to stay competitive.

A similar change is happening in the world of big-box retailers. Target and Amazon both upped their minimum wage to $15 an hour, pressuring Walmart to do so for about a third of its employees.

Chipotle's decision shows how giving workers a raise can create a win-win situation for both owners and employees. Chipotle will now get to hire the cream of the crop when it comes to restaurant workers, and by implementing new programs that put workers on a management track, will also benefit from lower turnover.

It's also a great business move because there are a lot of consumers who want to spend their money at businesses that take good care of their employees. The wage increase gives consumers another reason — besides the awesome guac —for people to choose Chipotle over other fast-casual Mexican restaurants.

10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

5 easy ways to practice self care

Because taking care of yourself should never feel like a chore

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life we forget the important things: like taking care of ourselves. While binge watching your favorite show and ordering take out can be just the treat-yourself-thing you need, your body might not always feel the same. So we’re bringing you 5 easy ways to practice self-care that both you and your body will thank us for.

Keep ReadingShow less

Saving the life of one small animal among the billions upon billions of living things on Earth may not seem significant in the big picture, but when that one small animal's life is in your hands, it means the world.

Yassin Elmahgoub is a medical student from Egypt who recently shared the journey of a tiny baby parrot he rescued. The parrot, who he named Mumble, was born with birth defects and wasn't able to stand or walk. With the help of a parrot behavior consultant, Elmahgoub hand-fed Mumble, nursed him to good health and helped him develop mobility.

In a TikTok video that's been viewed more than 8 million times, Elmahgoub shared Mumble's journey from his earliest days until he was finally able to walk on his own.

Keep ReadingShow less