Chipotle - Racist?

I just checked at the Chipotle nearest me, and it appears that nearly all the workers there are Hispanic, including those at the register, and they all appear to be first-generation Americans. It also appears that there will be one person there at any moment who is not Hispanic, and that person is probably the manager or assistant manager. Now, the interesting thing is that when I check at the local Wendy’s, the same thing is more or less true (although some of the employees are Asian but also appear to be first-generation Americans).

Wendy’s is the only other fast-food joint that I regularly visit. I therefore conjecture that this has to do with who is willing to accept the wages offered to ordinary workers at any fast-food joint, not the fact that Chipotle serves (putatively) Hispanic food. The Chipotle is right next door to the University of Maryland, and yet no college students are working there. Similarly, there don’t appear to be any high school students working at the Wendy’s (well, some of the younger ones could conceivably be high school age, but they certainly all are first-generation Americans).

I therefore conjecture that where I live ordinary fast-food jobs pay too poorly to be considered worthwhile even for most high school and college students as part-time jobs. It appears, at least, that only someone with literally no skills whatsoever will take an ordinary fast-food job. I suspect that the managers and assistant managers are people who had to pass a written test to get into a short training program, and this had the effect of eliminating anyone with limited English skills.

Run that by me again? Clearly my ignorant yuppie mind is having a hard time grasping your view of what it means to be racist.


I dunno, but I have noticed the same pattern at most of the local Twin Cities Chipotles as well as Taco Bells. It seems to be more the rule than the exception. It also seems to be the rule that the majority of the non-management personal have a lack of fluent english that’s needed to deal with the general consumer base.

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: I can’t imagine that any company this day would not only have this type of hiring technique that would exclude a race from a certain position but also have a policy that would state such.
All I ask is that hiring for all positions is fair and that they turn down that F*(&ing music.

The minority population in my nearest city has exploded in the last dozen or so years–St. Cloud used to run ads in Chicago newspapers begging for workers. One of the people who came up ended up working with me as a customer service representative, and she had put herself through business college waitressing at Red Lobster. After several years working as a secretary she moved up here and found she was not only unemployable as a secretary, she was also unemployable as a waitress. After she told me this, I realized that I had never (excepting family-run “Chinese” or “Mexican” joints or McDonald’s) been served by a black waitress here. Nor have I ever stepped foot in a business (here) with a black receptionist/secretary.

Racism is defined as:

  1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
  2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

We’re clearly talking about the second definition here. Discrimination and prejudice suggest damaging practices. Is employing minorities damaging? No. Is reinforcing stereotypes damaging (Mexican people make better Mexican food.)? Maybe…maybe not. The question should be extended to all ethnic food restaurants. Do you want to go to an Italian deli owned and operated by Randy and Jane Nelson or do you want to go to an Italian deli owned and operated by Antonio Albanese? Logically, I think we all realize that food preparation can be learned by anyone of any ethnicity with a passion for the food. But I also think ethnic restaurants garner more caché when there is a connection between the staff and the product they are selling. Window dressing in a sense. Is that wrong, bad? I would re-examine the situation by starting with the question, “Who is being hurt by this practice?” and “Who is benefitting from this practice?”

Returning to the OP, determing whether a restaurant is racist/“reverse-racist” may require more investigation than sporadic observations of who is working the counter or the grill at the one in your neighborhood. Has anyone inquired to the corporation as to their hiring practice?

BTW, I just had Chipotlé a few hours ago. It was yummy. (Hispanic-complexioned persons preparing the food and at the counter)

SHAKES writes:

> Well I prefer my Mexican food be cooked by real Mexicans.

I’m surprised that no one has replied to this (which has been echoed in other posts). The cooking techniques in Chipotle restaurants are absolutely standardized, just as in any other chain fast-food restaurant. They are undoubtedly determined by a team of planners at the headquarters for the chain who detemined what food would be served at all the restaurants in the chain. They then worked out a series of steps in food preparation that could be taught by the local managers to the local employees. The local employees have no say in what food is served or how it is prepared. The fact that employees are Hispanic has no effect on the quality of the food at Chipotle.

Well, I prefer my Mongolian Grille cooked by, well, whoever happens to be doing it. Sometimes it’s the grandpa, who is Korean, and sometimes it’s one of the Mexican former caballeros. What they have in common is that they are not Mongolian, they are small of stature with sun-scorched, leathery skin, and only speak enough English to know what “hot and extra garlic” means, which is all they really need to function in that job. They do a fine job.

The closest Chipotle has cute college girls taking orders and assorted people hired for their competence rather than their looks doing the other jobs. The lunch crowd seems satisfied with this arrangement.

BTW, who gets paid more, the cooks, the cashiers, or the order takers? When all is said and done THAT is the gauge by which possible racism can be measured.

And you’re entitled to that, but I just don’t think the food is as good if it’s not prepared by a fat guy wearing a furry hat named Genghis. :wink:

Do you really trust people who name their hats?
But one thing I have noticed at Chipotle(particularly the really busy one on California in Denver) is that for the food preparers hey need pretty much ninja-like burrito preparation and folding to finish as many as they go through each minute. I have kind of figured that they prefer people who are already well trained in tortilla handling
and that those people tend to be hispanic.

Wow, the most amazing part of this thread is learning that people actually eat at Chipolte. I went there once and found the food to be nasty, bland, the portions too small, and the price way, way too high.
Racist or not, there’s gotta be a better place to find a burrito.

I used to work at a fast-food restaurant at Six Flags called the Plantation House. Get this: The Plantation House was in the Confederate section of the park (can you guess where this particular Six Flags is?) and all the employees, except for the manager, were black. Our specialty was fried chicken and biscuits. No watermelon, though.

I don’t think discrimination was involved. Most of us fry-jockeys were still in high school; supervisory positions were reserved for older people who had been with Six Flags for ages. There were plenty of black managers in other restaurants, just not at the ole Plantation House.

Plus, the boss while I was there took his job WAY too seriously. Everyday he would fill the dumpster with vat after vat of uneaten chicken and biscuits while forbidding any of the employees to take leftovers home. Even though not all managers were that stuck-upity, I bet the higher-ups loved him.

I was with you all the way until “… the portions too small…” Maybe it’s just me, but most American places the portions are too large, and I never ate at Chipotle without feeling overstuffed. And that after I always asked them to leave the rice out of the burrito. Maybe it’s a midwest thing out here. FWiW, after the first time I’d only ever eaten there because the gang from work voted on it. Now that I’m self/under employed I can get to Taqueria Mercado or Sabor Peruano, both local places that I can heartily recommend, if anyone ever needs some real Central/South American food while in the neighborhood.

Yeah, I think those burritos are huge. And expensive.

FTR, I don’t recall seeing any hispanics working at the Chipotle here in Columbia, but there aren’t many in town (though we’re not whitewashed, we have a huge middle eastern community.)

And I have to agree, I want my cashier to speak English. Nothing against hard-working immigrants, I’m all for legal immigration and recognize its value to the economy (and it’s just plain good for individualism and personal autonomy.) But having been at a Jack in the Box on my brief visit to California, I must admit I would have felt more comfortable with someone who had a grasp of the English language handling my service. I don’t care about the face of the person serving me so much as whether I can effectively communicate to them.

BTW, Chipotle always sounded to me like a Nahuatl word, does anyone know if it means something, or refers to a specific region?

Put me firmly in the camp of those who can’t comprehend eating at Chipotle’s under ANY circumstances. Didn’t anyone notice that they’re a division of McDonald’s, fer crissakes?
The only branch I’ve ever been near, to the best of my knowledge, is the one down near Fifth and Mission in downtown San Francisco, and anyone who can’t find a better burrito South of Market obviously isn’t trying very hard. So in that regard, anyone who eats there deserves what they get, I suppose. In any event, I always prefer ethnic cuisine to be prepared by members of that ethnicity, whatever it might be. Expecting a colossal corporation to emphasize authenticity, flavor, quality, or anything except the bottom line is pretty wishful thinking.
Honestly, the question of whether or not Chipotle is racist pales next to the more pressing question of “why would anyone eat there anyway?” The quality of food always sucks at those chain restaurants, the prices are too high, it isn’t good for you, and the corporations that own them don’t have the best interests of their employees or their customers anywhere near their tiny black hearts.

What I find interesting in this thread is that, at least for the first few replies, people have only considered it possibly racist for the cashier to not be Hispanic. It is equally a racist hiring practice to only hire one type of “race” in general, namely Hispanic. It discriminates against other applicants who are not Hispanic. Now, one user said that it’s just going along with an Hispanic theme matching the food with the people, which may be how Chipotle gets away with this, however it is still discrimination against anyone not meeting the melanin concentration requirement for looking like a Mexican or other Latin American immigrant or descendant. The issue ought not to be whether there is an occasional Evil Whiteman© allowed to run the cash register for a couple of weeks, but whether people are being hired or not hired on the basis of whether or not they are Hispanic.

And, don’t forget, there are plenty of individuals born in this country, of all skin tones, whose ‘English’ is next to incomprehensible.

I am so white I practically glow in the dark and I have picked tomatoes and green peas, and worked as a barback, and did scutwork in restaurant kitchens, and been a janitor to make a living.

Watch who you try to paint with that brush. There are a lot of white people that will work any job to make a living.

Actually, zombies tend to have greenish skin.

Welcome to the board, iamnotaparakeet. There might be the seeds of a debate here, but this is a thread from late 2003, and the OP was banned ages ago. So if anyone’s interested in debating this I suggest opening a new thread.