Study: Chipotle, Starbucks have highest burnout among major restaurants

Dive Brief:

  • The restaurant and foodservice sector is uniquely stressful for its employees, according to an analysis of Glassdoor ratings by
  • The site collated Glassdoor reviews of approximately 500 of the largest companies in the U.S., analyzed them for burnout-related keywords including “burnout,” “stress,” “exhaustion,” and “depression,” and compared the ratio of keywords to total ratings for the company. The study then converted this ratio to a scale from 0-100, with 100 representing the maximum burnout rating.
  • Chipotle and Starbucks had the highest burnout ratings in the restaurant industry, with rating of 97.72 and 81.97, respectively. Chipotle had the second-highest burnout rating of any company in the study, surpassed only by Progressive.

Dive Insight:

It’s not an empirical surprise that restaurants have a high rate of worker burnout. Employment data shows that restaurant quits rates are much higher than the broader U.S. economy — 4.7% per month in February compared to a 2.2% overall quits rate —consistent with a generally high turnover rate in the industry. About 23,000 restaurant workers quit their jobs every day in February.

Both Starbucks and Chipotle have store networks that are entirely company-run. Franchise-heavy McDonald’s, and Yum Brands had burnout ratings of 33.56 and 17.95, while Darden, a largely company-operated system, had a burnout rating of 56.38.

Because franchisors do not, in a strict sense, act as the direct employers of most hourly restaurant workers, it is possible that BBADegree’s analysis misses the stress experienced by workers in franchise restaurants and is weighted toward corporate employees of Yum and McDonald’s. BBADegree did not respond immediately to a request to clarify how its study approached franchised employers or other brands where a joint-employer relationship or relationship of indirect control exists between the national enterprise and the front-line worker.

Chipotle and Starbucks’ labor problems have made headlines in recent years. High stress at the store level has helped drive the explosive growth of Starbucks Workers United since August 2021, while workers at Chipotle locations in Michigan and Maine sought union representation in 2022. Ex-Starbucks interim-CEO Howard Schultz said in March 2023 that the chain had brought down turnover from its mid-pandemic highs and that employee retention exceeded industry averages. Chipotle, meanwhile, has added new marginal benefits in an effort to attract thousands of young workers for its yearly spring hiring campaign.