New Chipotle starts fresh with location near the school

New Chipotle location opens with eight juniors finding employment and enjoyment


By Claire Biles

Junior Spencer Butterfield rings up a customer on Thursday, Jan. 21.

Jason Chen, JagWire reporter/illustrator

It’s not surprising to find students working part-time jobs in the area, whether it be at the neighborhood Price Chopper or the McDonald’s next door. However, the recent addition of a new Chipotle Mexican Grill on 66th Street has drawn several students into employment — especially juniors.

Currently, eight students are employed at the new Chipotle location: juniors Tyson Baker, Spencer Butterfield, Meghan Clark, Alina Garcia, Allison Saab, Jayna Smith, Joel Soderling and Laken Wagner.

Wagner became interested in applying for a position at Chipotle due to her passion for  culinary arts.

“I’m in the culinary program at Eudora so I knew that I wanted to work in the food industry and I had a friend who applied and she got an interview really quickly, so I was like “Hey, I might as well work there too,”Wagner said. “I heard about about it from her during English so during class I went online and applied for the job.”

For Garcia, however, the application for a position at Chipotle came at a complete surprise.

“My mom filled out the application for me,” Garcia said. “When I found out that I had an interview, I was really excited because I knew it was a popular restaurant and I knew it had good customer service and food.”

For the students who were hired at the new location, a tedious week of training and preparation was necessary. According to Baker, the training process included a fast-paced examination of all the skills that would be crucial for employment at Chipotle.

“We had a week of training, everything from cutting vegetables to preparing food and keeping our areas tidy,” Baker said.  “We had to study what the company’s vision was which is creating a group of top performers that empower each other to achieve high standards.”

According to Wagner, working with so many of her classmates has created closer ties not only in the work environment, but at school as well.

It’s definitely really entertaining especially since six of the eight people, including myself, are in the same English class,” Wagner said. “So, just like in the middle of English class, we’ll be like, ‘Hey, did you hear about what happened at work the other night?’”

This bonding is Garcia’s favorite aspect of working at Chipotle.

“I really like it because I get to see true personalities. I believe there is a way someone acts in school and out of school, and I’ve seen that in lots of my classmates,” Garcia said. “I can say that now since we’re all super close and it’s because I’ve actually gotten to know their actual personalities — not just their academic side or the front that they put up.”

According to Soderling, working at Chipotle is not all perfect. For him, most stressful aspect of the job regards customer complaints when it comes to delays in orders.

“The worst part of the job is when I get off break and I find out there’s no chicken in the bin at all. So, I have to get up and make more chicken, which takes 12 minutes and there’s customers there standing, waiting for me to make the food,” Soderling said. “They’re staring at me, kind of mad at me, but it really isn’t my fault since I just got off break.”

These back ups in the line and complaints from customers directly affect Garcia, who works as a cashier.

“I’m the last person they see, since I’m the cashier and I get the backlash” Garcia said. “I’ve had a few people ask to talk to my manager, and in the end those customers ended up being in the wrong because there was nothing that we could have done beside give them free food … because they had to wait.”

Another annoying aspect according to Garcia is the constant question regarding health safety and E. coli at Chipotle locations.

“It was so long ago, we weren’t even opened when that whole outbreak of E. coli at Chipotle happened,” Garcia said. “It just gets old hearing about it since we are doing everything that we can and that we are making so many changes to make sure everything is safe.”

According to Soderling, these are just minor problems and nothing compares to the great working environment that Chipotle offers.

“I love all my managers and the people I work with,” Soderling said. “It’s just really a great place to be at.”


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