Starbucks and Chipotle Pay Employees Through College

For most fast-food restaurant employees, it’s those cheesy uniforms with the oversized shirts and pants or being forced to wear those stupid hats, that is the worst. Then there’s the smell of the food. Of course, in the beginning the food smells simply mouth-watering, but after a few weeks the smell becomes revolting, while the food starts tasting horrible.

For other workers, however, it’s the hours and the pay, which never seem to be enough to make ends meet. And then the lack of benefits also tends to make matters worse.

Do you think that working at a fast food restaurant is the worst job ever? Well, think again.

“For most workers, the perks at hourly, part-time jobs are the pits — no paid vacation, health insurance, tuition reimbursement or sick pay,” says Market Watch reporter, Catey Hill. “But some companies are bucking that trend by offering perks to hourly and part-time employees that office workers might envy.”

According to Hill, the fast food industry is changing rapidly. And if you are looking for a part-time job, now is the time to apply. The following is an overview of how both Starbucks and Chipotle are reinventing the part-time job market.


Ranked number 52 on Forbes’ list of the World’s Most Valuable Brands, the 100th of America’s Best Employers, and the 33rd Most Innovative Company, Starbucks has been serving more than coffee and tea. The company, based in Seattle, Wash., is known for its ground-breaking approach to managing its workforce.

“Employees, or ‘partners,’ as the chain calls them, receive health insurance if they work more than 20 hours a week and have access to a range of other perks the company refers to as the ‘Special Blend’,” says The Motley Fool contributor, Daniel B. Kline. “This is a customized package created with the worker’s input to match his or her unique situation.”

In 2014, the coffee house also announced that it will pay for its world-famous baristas to go to college. According to the website, employees who “work 20 hours per week on average at any of the 8,200 company-operated stores (including Teavana, La Boulange, Evolution Fresh and Seattle’s Best Coffee stores) are eligible to participate in the Starbucks College Achievement Plan.” An innovative partnership with the Arizona State University, the program does not require the employees to stay with company after graduation.

So if you don’t mind wearing that green apron, it’s definitely worth applying for a part-time job at Starbucks. Plus, you get to drink as much free coffee as you want.


It was just last week when Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., based in Denver, Colo., jumped on the bandwagon by offering to pay for its 53,090 employees to go to college.

“The company will reimburse 90 per cent of tuition, books and fees up to the Internal Revenue Service’s limit of $5,250 per calendar year,” Chipotle spokeswoman, Danielle Winslow, told Restaurant News. “Eligible expenses include registrations, university and lab fees, and specific supplies.”

Winslow also says that the new employee perk will be “offered to crew cashier and takeout specialists with one year of service, and to all hourly managers and salaried employees with no waiting period.” In addition, the company announced it would increase its employee benefits— initially established for its salaried employees— to hourly workers as well. Starting July 1, 2015, all of the Mexican eateries’ employees will be eligible to receive sick pay and paid vacations, according to MSNBC.

"It’s an incredible statement by our leadership about how much we want to invest in the best people we have and to keep them with us," Chipotle’s Recruitment Strategy Manager, JD Cummings said during a presentation, according to Restaurant News. "We have a lot of folks who, if they realize they could make a career with Chipotle, would stick with us while they are in college and take advantage of our tuition-reimbursement program."

 See also: Chipotle Employees Stage Walkout for Alleged Labor Law Violations

20 percent discount
20 percent discount

The catch, however, is that you will have to wear that all black uniform, hat and apron for an entire year before you can take advantage of the company’s benefits. On the other hand, with free tuition, great benefits and the extra cash, you can be more fashionable during your personal time.

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