The so-called “burrito season” is nearly here, and Chipotle is in preparation mode. Designing a fair compensation plan is an important task because pay and benefits represent a substantial portion of an organization’s expenses. Fast-casual restaurant Chipotle is introducing benefits to appeal to younger workers in a push to hire 19,000 workers over the next few months.

Breaking down compensation

Total compensation includes direct financial compensation and benefits. Direct financial compensation includes all monetary payments paid to employees in exchange for labor. Benefits, on the other hand, include noncash forms of compensation (i.e., indirect financial compensation and nonmonetary compensation).

Examples of direct financial compensation include wages, commissions, salary, and bonuses. Examples of indirect financial compensation include retirement plans, health insurance, and discounts. Examples of non-monetary compensation include remote work policies, professional development opportunities, and employee recognition programs.

Attracting Gen Z talent by meeting their needs

Gen Z, born between 1996 and 2010, accounts for 67 million people in the United States. This group tends to seek a fun, flexible work environment. Benefits offered by a company may have varying degrees of appeal to different age groups.

The vast majority of Chipotle’s workforce (nearly three-quarters) is Gen Z. With the chain’s peak sales months on the horizon (March through May), Chipotle plans to hire 19,000 new employees. To attract the best talent, the company is introducing new benefits that meet these young workers’ needs.

Some young workers face economic challenges such as credit card debt, high student loan balances, and a lack of confidence in personal financial management. Chipotle’s new benefits include new retirement benefits, banking benefits, financial management education, and mental health resources.

Chipotle has partnered with SoFi, a personal finance company, to offer up to 4% employer matching contribution to 401(k) for eligible employees and verified student loan payments. Through the partnership, Chipotle plans to give employees access to SoFi's conversational artificial intelligence dashboard. The restaurant chain has also partnered with, a unique, tech-forward credit card designed to help its users stop overspending or making late payments, providing employees with a Visa credit card and faster paycheck access. Lastly, a new mental health benefit includes six sessions with a mental health coach or counselor.

Chipotle hopes these new benefits will attract more applicants. According to a statement from Chipotle's chief human resources officer, Chipotle wants to listen to its team members, identify their needs, and adapt accordingly.

In the Classroom

This article can be used to discuss compensating the workforce (Chapter 10: Managing Human Resources).

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the difference between direct financial compensation and benefits?
  2. Why is Chipotle attempting to appeal to Gen Z workers?
  3. Describe Chipotle’s new benefits and why they may appeal to younger workers. Which are examples of indirect financial compensation, and which are examples of non-monetary compensation?

This article was developed with the support of Kelsey Reddick for and under the direction of O.C. Ferrell, Linda Ferrell, and Geoff Hirt.


Aneurin Canham-Clyne, "Chipotle Targets Gen Z Workers with Latest Benefits," Restaurant Dive, January 24, 2024,

Jonathan Maze, "Chipotle Boosts Benefits for Its Gen Z Workforce," Restaurant Business Magazine, January 24, 2024,

Sabrina Escobar, "Chipotle to Hire 19,000 Additional Employees. How It’s Wooing Gen Z Workers," Barron's, January 24, 2024,