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Chipotle CEO Talks Food Innovation, Bonuses For Workers And More

Chipotle CEO Talks Food Innovation, Bonuses For Workers And More

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE: CMG) was planning on launching new food items this year, but the coronavirus pandemic forced management to put its plans on hold, CEO Brian Niccol told CNBC's "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer in a Thursday interview.

Chipotle was set to launch new items like a brisket meal and a cauliflower rice option but its plans are "going to be delayed," the CEO said. New items will eventually make it on to the menu, including a return of carne asada.

See Also: 7 New Food Items We Can't Wait To Eat: Shackburger, Big King XL And More

Bonuses To Workers

Chipotle isn't firing employees or cutting hours, rather it will still give $6.5 million in bonuses to field leaders, general managers, and apprentices who were on track to achieve their goals. Niccol said the financial strength of the company allows it to better invest in its people at this difficult time. Hourly workers will also see a pay increase of 10% from March 16 through April 12.

Digital Business

Chipotle spent the past few years investing in its digital business, one of which is order ahead capabilities. Encouragingly, this initiative comes with a higher margin profile which allows the company to re-invest some of the upsides in other digital initiatives, like delivery.

"Thank heavens we invested the way we did because with that new access point and that digital system in place, we have been able to kind of weather the current situation," Niccol said.

Supporting Health Care Workers

Chipotle delivered free burrito boxes to health care centers on Thursday as part of the National Burrito Day celebration. But the company is finalized details of a new initiative that customers can take part in.

Anyone who purchases a special gift card will be able to donate around 10% of the proceeds to a health care organization, Niccol said. This will the public to help support the medical community who is "doing heroic things right now."

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Photo credit: Chis Potter, Flickr


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