Chipotle to honor $6.5 million in quarterly bonuses. CEO says it's the 'right thing to do'

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Chipotle has committed to paying out quarterly bonuses to its workforce despite the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on restaurant operations.

CEO Brian Niccol on Thursday told CNBC’s Jim Cramer that managers will be awarded as much as $2,000 and field leaders will receive nearly $4,000 in bonuses for the three-month period that was marred by the global pandemic.

“They were doing a great job in January [and] February — definitely on track to get their bonuses,” he said in a “Mad Money” interview, lauding Chipotle staff. “In March, obviously, we ran into some tough business situations, but we thought the right thing to do was step in and provide assistance.”

Chipotle will distribute a total of $6.5 million in extra pay. The restaurant chain created the quarterly bonus program last June, which allows hourly employees to earn as much as an additional month’s worth of pay each year, the company said.

Chipotle stores must reach sales, cash flow and throughput goals in order to be rewarded the extra funds for crews.

While U.S. restaurants have been deemed essential businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, shutdown orders swept across the nation in March and brought consumer spending to a near halt. Restaurants have been cleared to continue carryout and delivery operations, but dining-in bans have crippled the industry as people hunker down at home.

“I’m happy to say because of the strength of our company we’re able to invest in our people with these bonuses,” Niccol said.

Chipotle has more than 2,600 locations and employs more than 83,000 people in North America and Europe, as of 2019.

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