Chipotle has been struggling with staffing at some locations because of rising coronavirus infections across the country.
In fact, some Chipotle restaurants have had to change their hours or temporarily close because their employees have tested positive for the virus.
Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol told Bloomberg News last week that he expects maintaining full staff will be more difficult as coronavirus cases continue to rise, even with masks and other safety measures.
“When employees start coming down with COVID at these high percentages, it just makes staffing much more challenging than what it was six months ago,” Niccol told Bloomberg. “The coming months I think are going to be even more challenging from a staffing standpoint.”
He added that Chipotle has been able to keep the infection rate among employees “below the national average in a meaningful way,” according to Bloomberg.
Chipotle has had a “very small number of locations” that have had to change their hours or temporarily close because employees have contracted the coronavirus. (iStock)
In a statement emailed to Fox News, Laurie Schalow, Chipotle’s chief corporate affairs and food safety officer, said that only a few locations have been affected by staffing shortages.
“The health and safety of our employees and guests is our top priority,” Schalow said. “With more restrictions being instituted due to rising cases of COVID-19 across the country, we’re seeing a very small number of restaurants impacted by available labor. Therefore, we’ve had to adjust hours or close for a limited period of time when staff from neighboring locations was unavailable.”
Last week, Niccol also predicted that the restaurant industry would continue to see restrictions on indoor dining because of rising COVID-19 numbers.
“I think you’re going to see more [indoor] dining being curtailed,” Niccol told FOX Business’ Liz Claman. “We were on kind of a nice progression of bringing it back across the country. But … I anticipate that the dining room business is going to continue to be under pressure.”
He said that restaurants should be focusing on giving customers “a great off-premise or digital experience” in order to adapt to the regulations.
He added that it’s also important to make sure staff members feel safe.
“What we want to do with our employees is ensure they can have the confidence to feel safe about working,” Niccol told Claman. “And then we want to have all our customers feel confident about the experience they’re having, both [in terms of] safety as well as giving them the access that they want.”