Head Takeout Specialist at Chipotle – Theresa Cafaro-Stauffer

Theresa Cafaro-Stauffer is 21 and this is her first job. She’s worked at Chipotle for three 

years. We are sitting on the stone stairs leading to a giant Masonic church in Denver, Co. This is Mile High Blues weekend in June, and during our conversation, Theresa adds her dream to start a dance scene of her own sometime, but makes it clear that she just might want it because she’s away at a dance weekend.

I work at one of the Chioptles in Colorado Springs. Currently I am the head takeout specialist which means that I’m in charge of tasks like setting up catering orders and getting people interested in our brand and our company like specifically our store, so maybe giving coupons here and there to garner more interest or targeting demographics that will want more catering. Graduate students, for example, they get lots of chipotle. And I also like to make sure that we have good regular online sales. Try to avoid negative customer feedback and encourage positives for everyone involved.

I do prefer the ones (custumers) that are lighter and just really firm in hey this was a great job. There was one catering where there were a bunch of people that came in at 6 in the morning and we had to unpack the truck and get catering for 300 people ready. It was, I believe, construction appreciation. It was for a bunch of construction workers. They came in and got all the things earlier just to help out. It was good for them; they got in and had tons of food, it was nice out. I was able to get that all together and obviously there were a lot of people helping out, and this is one of the first really big orders I’d had for takeout specialist, but it was still really rewarding to have that under my belt, and be like, hey, yeah I can do this.

I am in charge of the takeout specialist business now. I’m pretty much responsible if something goes wrong. I have to be on top of our inventory, make sure that’s all up to date, communicate with the other takeout specialists, make sure everything’s being done; for example we have to do callbacks to get customer feedback and make sure that their orders are going well for them. If they’re not, then we will do our very best to fix it. That might involve giving someone a free burrito bowl when they come back in next time.

This is not something I’m proud of, but certain things do happen multiple times because people do not have enough attention to detail which is a thing I am trying to work on. There was this one lady who had kids’ meals which were quesadilla meals, and she wanted the guacamoli on the side for a 50-cent upcharge and they had not gotten their sides of guac. Although if I had checked, I may have figured out, hey the guacomomile was in the tray where it goes with the kids’ meals. She may not have looked at that, but she said it happened to her twice. I feel like it’d be hard for her to miss something like that twice.

That’s just something that we really need to work on as a team. We have a lot of cross-training. I’m going to start training for manager after I finish training this next one here.

I think it’s been a really rewarding experience for me so far. This is actually my first job. It’s really interesting. There have, of course, been times where, this sucks, I don’t want to do this, but I just kept using different ways of dealing with it. Like, okay, when I was finally eligible for tuition reimbursement I was like, okay let’s do this and then I’ll work here for six months, and that’s the cut-off. If I absolutely can’t stand working here after six months, they aren’t going to take the tuition reimbursement back from me if I quit. They pay for your tution and books, and any of those course materials that are directly involved with the class. They’ll pay up to 90% of that and the current limit is $5,250.00 per year. The requirements are you have to have worked there a year, be in good standing with the company, and you have to obtain a C from that course. They won’t pay for a course that you failed.

I’m paying my way through college. It is occasionally (hard). I’ve always been really careful not to go too far past my limits, because I really value my academic career. After one semester that was a little rocky I took too many courses and too much school at once, I still came out okay, but I learned to back off a little more with that. Just a smidge, to help get the grades I wanted. I did do a degree change later on, because I realized I didn’t want to do what it was in. (Now she’s majoring in Communications Started off in English). I didn’t really see any applications (for English) that I could really work full time for me, and the way I understood it was you could either be a writer or you could be a teacher. For me, the slant will be a little easier because I have a math background, so I have the crossover.

I really admire the work ethic the company is trying to promote. I don’t want to ever just be doing the minimum requirement—I always want to be exceeding expectations and Chipotle is at least talking the talk. I like to think that my location is walking the walk. Mostly there’s college kids, or high school kids there, coming into the force. Not everyone is as commited to Chipotle as I am either. There’s a lot of people like, this is just a paycheck. You can sense it. Yes it is a paycheck, but a lot of these people really don’t understand how well Chipotle treats their employees, like we get free meals with our breaks, we get 50% off once a day. That’s like way better than what I’ve heard any other company offers. And also they give us paid breaks, I don’t think other companies do that, I don’t think it’s required. Chipotle’s policy is four hours you get a 15-minute break, and 5 or more hours you get a 30-minute break. But they’re paid. They’re doing really well there, they’ve always paid pretty well. Before we had that bill passed, they were paying people above minimum wage. I think they might be paying people minimum wage now. I think it’s at $9.50.

One of my big goals in life is making sure that I am able to travel. That means not having a job that’s so demanding I can’t go and travel and it would be nice if I traveled with my job, but also it would be working, it wouldn’t actually be going and experiencing the location. I want to really get down into it and be like here’s the people, this is what’s going on, these are some customs that are happening, I want to do that, so some options are National Geographic might be an interesting job. I still am sort of thinking about writing. I have fun expressing myself that way. I wish I did it more, it’s just one of those timing things right now.

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