Raising Cane's Has Corporate Staff Working Fryers Amid Staffing Shortages
In the meantime, the company is looking to bring on 10,000 new employees.
Corporate employees at Raising Cane's are about to get a very different work experience. Like many businesses, the Louisiana-bred chicken joint is struggling to staff its 530 restaurants across the country. As a result, it's resorted to deploying corporate staffers to fill in-house restaurant gigs, like manning the fryers and interacting with customers.
While higher-ups at Raising Cane's focus on hiring, seeking to fill at least 10,000 positions in the next 50 days, an initiative it's calling 50 in 50, corporate workers will be asked to serve as stand-ins at restaurants across America, Bloomberg initially reported.
A representative at Raising Cane's confirmed to Thrillist that 50% of the company's corporate employees were temporarily relocating to work in Raising Cane's restaurants. In addition to providing support in terms of in-house jobs, those employees will "be there to actively recruit." The market that sees the largest influx of new hires will receive a reward, though it's unclear what that is.
"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," AJ Kumaran, Raising Cane's co-CEO and COO, said 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."
Employees sent to work in Raising Cane's restaurants will retain their corporate salaries, according to Eater. They will also retain any benefits they have. The chain noted that all employees, no matter how senior they are, have "'Fry Cook & Cashier' in their title" because Restaurant Support Office staffers kick off their careers with restaurant training. A rep for the company added that this is "a point of pride for the company," noting that this experience allows all employees "to support the restaurants at any level." This includes Raising Cane's founder and co-CEOs, according to a release from the chain.
Raising Cane's isn't the only restaurant struggling to fill in-house positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the number of people working in the service industry, specifically food service, fell significantly in August. That was the first major drop since April 2020, when the pandemic took hold in America.
Staffing has been a major challenge industry-wide. In cities and towns across the nation, understaffed restaurants are looking to bring on new employees, with many offering incentives like higher-than-average wages. Per Eater, One Fair Wage released a report in September that revealed the industry was making a late but welcomed push toward offering workers a liveable wage.
The report revealed that 78% of restaurant workers said "they would only stay in restaurants or return to work in restaurants if they received a full, livable wage with tips on top." It found that in response, more than 1,600 eateries in America "have raised wages to pay the full minimum wage with tips on top, with an average wage of about $13.50" in roughly 41 of 50 states. Each of the states that saw that shift had previously paid employees about $5 or less per hour months earlier.
As noted by Eater, pay isn't the only factor contributing to labor shortages around the country. Shortages have been ongoing since the start of the pandemic for various reasons. It's worth noting, however, that restaurant workers, specifically line cooks, had the highest mortality rate of all laborers during the pandemic, according to a study from the University of California, San Francisco.