"I'm just a struggling burrito chain, standing in front of my fleeing customers, asking them to love me."
Chipotle is so Julia Roberts in Notting Hill right now, y’all.
Actually, if we’re doing romantic movie comparisons (we are), Chipotle is more like the Titanic. It’s not Jack, if you’re wondering, or Rose -- it’s the sinking ship.
On August 29, CNN reported that nearly 10,000 workers are suing Chipotle for allegedly cheating them on their pay, with current and former Chipotle employees claiming that the company forced them to work "off the clock hours" without compensation.
For anybody wondering, the technical term for that is wage theft -- not cool, Chipotle.
"Chipotle routinely requires hourly-paid restaurant employees to punch out, and then continue working until they are given permission to leave," reads the class action lawsuit known as Turner v. Chipotle, per CNN.
While Chipotle denies these claims, saying the case has no merit, this lawsuit is by far the largest class action case to date leveled against the company for wage theft. As of August 26, a staggering 9,961 current and former workers have sent in consent forms to join the lawsuit.
"Chipotle has argued this is a few rogue managers who aren't following policy. Our view, especially given the number of people opting in, is that it's a systematic problem at Chipotle," lawyer Kent Williams of Williams Law Firm, who is representing the employees in Turner v. Chipotle, told CNN.
And that’s not all. Apparently, the company is so desperate to regain some semblance of control and rebuild its reputation (which plummeted after a series of public health crises) that it’s now focusing on wooing customers’ children.
Eater reports that according to an August 30 press release, children are now eligible to eat free at Chipotle every Sunday if they order with an adult who purchases a regular-priced entree; additionally, Chipotle is throwing in limited-edition activity sheets to accompany each of these free meals.
According to Eater, Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold notes that the company’s demographic "has been widening for some time," adding that the chain has "always skewed young, but that [its consumer base has] been broadening as long-time customers get older and others have children that they bring to our restaurants."
So what do you think? Is Chipotle’s latest bid to regain your trust (and money) worth it? Or are you on the side of the furious employees?