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New Edgewater Chipotle Accused Of Questionable Recruiting Tactics

JimD

Pizzeria Aroma Owner Jim Dababneh & Employee Miguel Salazar

The owner of an Edgewater pizzeria says two women who identified themselves as managers of a Chipotle Mexican Grill franchise that opened in Edgewater on Monday came into his store on March 20 and tried to hire away his employees.

“They came to the front counter, they said, ‘Hi, we are from Chipotle to say we are hiring, and were wondering if anyone in your kitchen is looking for work or extra hours,” Pizzeria Aroma owner Jim Dababneh said on March 27. “It’s inappropriate. You just don’t blatantly go in and try to poach employees from your neighboring restaurants.”

A phone call and email sent on March 27 to Chris Arnold, director of communications for Chipotle Mexican Grill, were not returned by press time.

Pizzeria Aroma serves pizza, pasta, salads, sandwiches and more. It opened at 1125 W. Berwyn Ave. in 1999.

The new Chipotle Mexican Grill franchise held its grand opening on Monday at 5224 N. Broadway, a 10th of a mile away from Pizzeria Aroma. It’s located on the property of what was the demolished former Piser Weinstein Funeral Home and is now a strip mall.

According to the company’s website, Chipotle Mexican Grill works hard to source its ingredients in ways that protect the planet. Portions of its beans are organically grown, and the company prefers working with family farms that are family owned and operated. It also strives to obtain a portion of its ingredients within 350 miles of participating restaurants, the website said.

While Dababneh praised the company’s sustainability efforts, he added “it’s no use highlighting one thing and then going down a level into hiring employees. Going inside (his store), it’s not done. It’s in poor taste. It’s like an unwritten rule.”

 While some local businesses have been at odds with national chains moving into the neighborhood, the relationships that develop when those chains establish themselves in Edgewater and Andersonville are not always adversarial.

 Whole Foods, which will open an Edgewater location at 6009 N. Broadway Ave. on April 29, has established a partnership with small, locally owned True Nature Foods, located across the street.

 True Nature Foods owner Paula Companio said some of her products will be on the big box store’s shelves.

 “They seemed very interested in us succeeding because it was good for both businesses,” Companio said.


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