State stands ready to help Chipotle corporate workers find new jobs

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DENVER – Chipotle, a restaurant that’s been serving up burritos in Denver since 1993, will move its corporate offices out of the Centennial State. Roughly 400 employees working at the headquarters in downtown Denver will be impacted. Leaders at Colorado’s Department of Labor and Employment say they are working to keep as many of those workers as possible in Colorado.

The fast-casual Mexican restaurant chain will be moving its headquarters to Newport Beach, California. Some corporate employees in Denver could also be heading to an existing location in Columbus, Ohio.

“We wish @ChipotleTweets all the best,” Governor Hickenlooper tweeted on Wednesday. “We want their existing employees to know we have services that can help them find new jobs.”

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has a team of counselors and other professionals who we are able to deploy to provide assistance to workers who may be facing a layoff, according to agency spokeswoman Cher Haavind. As of late Wednesday, the state said it had not been alerted of layoffs from Chipotle.

“Our counselors are prepared to match them with their next employment opportunity,” Haavind told FOX31.

Chipotle’s CEO since March, Brian Niccol, has strong California roots. He was previously CEO at California-based Taco Bell. Niccol said the move to the West Coast will help Chipotle drive sustainable growth while continuing to compete for top talent.

“I think the talent in Denver is superb,” a Chipotle customer said on Wednesday. “They should maybe reconsider their decision.”

Top economic leaders in Colorado agree. They believe Chipotle is not leaving because of a lack of talent in Denver. The chain’s new leader is simply more connected to California than Colorado, according to J. J. Ament, CEO of Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation.

Some corporate employees will receive retention and re-location packages from the company.

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