'Pushed to Breaking Points': Chipotle Store Forced to Close After Half of Staff Walks Out

A Chipotle in Kentucky was forced to shut its doors after half of its staff walked out, including the manager. Photos of the sign which was taped to the store's door have circulated online and asked customers to cancel pick-up and delivery orders and contact corporate for refunds.

The restaurant was able to reopen and Laurie Schalow, Chipotle's Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, said they encourage former employees to contact corporate through the anonymous number so that they can investigate the situation.

Another person claiming to be a former manager at the location reposted a photo of the sign and wrote that employees were pushed to their "breaking points" and were expected to work 50-70 hours a week.

The comment, made by Sidney Plogsted, mentioned that customers were what led to employees eventually walking out.

"My team and I were cussed at," Plogsted wrote on Facebook. "Threatened, had food thrown at us, and called degrading and dehumanizing things over something as simple as a messed up order."

See posts, photos and more on Facebook.

Plogsted also wrote that corporate expected those still working at the restaurant to work "anywhere between 50-70 hours a week" to "keep our restaurants open while sitting in their offices." She also mentioned that she felt that they worked "ourselves to death."

"Keep in mind that most people who work fast food are teenagers and in their twenties," Plogsted continued. "Be kind to fast food workers !!! they are people, with families, emotions, and lives outside of where they work, not robots."

The U.S. is currently facing a "great resignation" in which workers are quitting their jobs in search of different experiences and higher pay.

This phenomenon, also dubbed the "Big Quit," has created a nationwide labor shortage, especially within the foodservice industry. In August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported over 4.3 million Americans leaving their jobs.

In order to combat the labor shortage, companies including Chipotle have raised wages to $15 an hour. But employers are seeing that the wage raise wasn't enough. Some employees still feel mistreated by their employers.

"Our restaurant on Bardstown Road is now open, but did experience a temporary closure Monday afternoon due to staffing needs," Schalow told Newsweek. "We encourage our employees to contact us immediately, including through an anonymous 800 number, with any concerns so we can investigate and respond quickly to make things right."

On Halloween, several Chipotle employees walked out after several locations promoted $5 bowls. Videos of overcrowded Chipotle restaurants circulated social media over the weekend showing overwhelmed employees.

"The wait was an hour long after the pickup time. The staff were overwhelmed and I felt so bad for them. Some of the people in the front tried to help by reading out order names," one user told Newsweek.

Chipotle Workers Walk Out in Kentucky
Just one day after employees walked out of a Chipotle in New York, A Chipotle in Kentucky was forced to temporarily close after half the staff, including the manager, walked out. One employee said the chain is forcing its staff to work between 50 and 70 hours per week. Jeff Burnett/WHAS11

Schalow told Newsweek that staffing needs were "challenged" due to the special offer, but that corporate will, "continue to evaluate our promotions to ensure they can be executed with excellence."

At a New York Chipotle, staff organized a walk out from their Halloween shifts due to the offer. The employees told Insider they wanted the company to stop "putting profits before people."

Newsweek reached out to Sidney Plogsted for comment.

Updated 11/04/2021, 3:24 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with comments from Laurie Schalow.