Raising Cane's believes the key to solving the nationwide labor shortage begins at the top, and it means literally.
Beginning this week, 50 percent of the chain's corporate team will enter restaurants across the country to assist short-staffed stores. Corporate employees will support day-to-day needs and help recruit new talent. Workers will be deployed in teams to each market, and the group with the largest increase in new hires will be rewarded.
Raising Cane's, which has 40,000 workers systemwide, has implemented a "50 in 50" approach as it looks to reach 50,000 employees in 50 days. The brand claims every team member—from founder and co-CEO below—has "fry cook and cashier" in their title. Every new hire at the chain's Restaurant Support Office starts their career at a store with restaurant training.
The brand is implementing the hiring strategy in anticipation of a potentially record-breaking 2022 when it expects to open more than 100 restaurants in more than 10 new markets, including five flagship locations.
“The first thing we teach new hires at Cane’s is that we are all Fry Cooks & Cashiers, and this week, we are proving that,” said co-CEO and COO AJ Kumaran in a statement. “It’s no secret that today’s hiring market is a challenge, and ahead of our massive growth next year, having the support we need is critical. We are all in this together, and when our restaurants need us, we’re there.”
Raising Cane's unique strategy comes as the industry continues it months-long battle over labor. In August, food and drink places lost jobs for the first time since January. There were 11.3 million on payroll during the month, which was still 1 million shy of February 2020. Additionally, the U.S. saw a record-breaking 10.9 million job openings on the final day of July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with accommodation and food services accounting for a large portion. BlackBox Intelligence and Snagajob found in a recent report that turnover in the quick-service industry rose to 144 percent in June, up from 135 percent in 2019.
In response, concepts like McDonald's and Chipotle have increased wages and benefits. For Raising Cane's specifically, the brand announced in August a list of new educational benefits available to hourly and managerial crew members effective immediately. Those include access to tuition discounts at a broad network of accredited schools, an opportunity with LSU Online to earn an online degree or certificate, reimbursed class costs to complete a high school diploma, college-level courses in numerous study areas, and up to $5,250 per year in tuition reimbursement for full-time restaurant managers and Restaurant Support Office and Business Unit employees.
During COVID, Raising Cane's kept a majority of its 500 restaurants open and distributed $5 million in "thank you" bonuses to employees systemwide.