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Louisville Chipotle forced to close after half its staff walked out

In another example of the Great Resignation, a Chipotle outlet was forced to close temporarily because it was understaffed.

Louisville Chipotle forced to close after half its staff walked out
Image Source: roc_united / TikTok

A Chipotle outlet at Bardstown Road, Kentucky, temporarily closed last week after half of its employees walked out. The store announced it was shut in a sign posted to their front door. Those working for delivery apps such as Uber Eats and Door Dash were instructed to either cancel their orders or contact their specific services. This is only one instance in a series of walkouts taking place across the United States as employees demand living wages and better working conditions. This has resulted in a labor shortage, causing many businesses to temporarily or permanently shut their doors, the Louisville Eccentric Observer reports.


The sign read, "Half of our staff walked out including the manager and we are no longer able to remain open." It also included instructions for delivery app executives. The incident went viral online after ROC United, a nonprofit organization that aims to help working-class folks bargain for "livable wages and workplaces that are fair, safe, inclusive, and accessible,” posted a video to TikTok. Shortly after, location’s general manager Raven Whallen provided more details in an interview with the news outlet. She claimed that a series of "unexpected staff resignations" forced the Chipotle branch to close on Monday before reopening its doors on Tuesday. Sidney Plogsted, a former manager of the same location, shared her experiences with Doug Proffitt, a local journalist.


"We worked throughout this entire pandemic (and did a damn good job, at that), and the thing that pushed us to our breaking points were the customers treating us poorly for doing the best we can," she explained. "My team and I were cussed at, threatened, had food thrown at us, and called degrading and dehumanizing things over something as simple as a messed up order." Plogsted added that employees were expected to 50 to 70 hours a week in order to cover for missing employees. She asserted, "[Meanwhile, the company's corporate leaders sat] in their offices not helping us, just so we can work ourselves to death as we made them more money."


In a statement, Chipotle’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Laurie Schalow responded to the sudden store closure. She stated, "Our restaurant on Bardstown Road is now open, but did experience a temporary closure Monday afternoon due to staffing needs. Chipotle’s engaged and hard-working employees are what makes us great, and 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."


The incident is only part of a larger picture. Termed the "Great Resignation," the United States has been experiencing a serious labor shortage, owing mostly to exploitative working conditions in sectors that employ staff working for minimum wages. The fast food industry has been particularly vulnerable. Labor rights groups have thus called on raising the minimum wage and ensuring all workers have access to social security, especially because working class folks were deemed "essential" during the peak of the pandemic.


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