Chipotle raises menu prices as employee costs increase

(Reuters) – Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc said on Tuesday it has increased prices for products across its menu by about 4% owing to rising labor costs.

Several companies in the retail space, including McDonald’s and Walmart, have increased hourly wages for employees in recent months to retain and hire more workers to keep up with a surge in sales amid a broader economic recovery.

“We really prefer not to take pricing. But it made sense in this scenario to invest in our employees and get these restaurants staffed and make sure that we have the pipeline of people to support our growth,” CEO Brian R. Niccol said at the Baird Global Consumer, Technology & Services Conference.

“And then with that, we’ve taken some pricing to cover that,” Niccol added.

The burrito chain said in May it plans to hire 20,000 more employees and will raise the average hourly wage to $15 by the end of June.

(Reporting by Mehr Bedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)