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About 150 members of the corporate staff at Raising Cane’s will work in the company’s U.S. restaurants for the next few weeks as the Baton Rouge-based chicken tender chain deals with a staffing shortage.

About 150 members of the corporate staff at Raising Cane’s will work in the company’s U.S. restaurants for the next few weeks as the Baton Rouge-based chicken tender chain deals with a labor shortage.

This week, 200 employees from Raising Cane’s Dallas offices and 250 members of the “field team,” which includes marketing and training employees, were sent to work in restaurants and help with hiring workers.

“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,” said AJ Kumaran, Raising Cane’s Co-CEO & COO, in a statement. “We are all in this together, and when our restaurants need us, we’re there.”

About a third of the staffers are working as part of restaurant crews, another third are recruiting workers at job fairs and the remaining are processing job applications and trying to get the new hires on the Raising Cane’s team, said Matt Massey, regional vice president.

“This is not new, but what is different is the scale,” he said. After all, everyone from Raising Cane’s co-founder Todd Graves on down has “Fry Cook & Cashier” listed as part of their job title. And every new hire in the company’s support office has to start out with restaurant training — putting together box combos, sweeping floors and taking customer orders.

But the COVID pandemic has caused Raising Cane’s to face a staffing shortage, like many other businesses.

The company employs about 40,000 workers and has launched a 50 day push to hire another 10,000 workers, in a drive it has dubbed “50 in 50.” This will not only help with the current worker shortfall but will staff the company up for 2022. Raising Cane’s plans to open 100 restaurants next year, with a focus on high-profile locations such as Times Square and the Las Vegas Strip.

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The chain has boosted employee pay this year as a move to attract and retain workers. About $55 million has been invested in crew wages, while $17 million in retention bonuses have been paid out, Massey said. Systemwide, the average starting pay for Raising Cane’s restaurant crew members is now $12 an hour.

Plans are to boost wages by another $30 million by the end of the year, which would bring the hourly salary up by about $1, he said.

“It’s the right thing to do and we’re glad to be able to do it,” Massey said.

One education: Raising Cane’s offering tuition discounts, reimbursements for employees

Finding workers for Raising Cane’s local restaurants hasn’t been an issue.

“We have been fortunate in Louisiana,” Massey said. But there’s a need for workers in the chain’s restaurants across the U.S.

The employees who are working in restaurants and helping with hiring are juggling that along with their daily tasks.

“It’s taking extra effort and energy and people are working extra days and extra hours,” Massey said. “But employees are excited to help out.” 


Email Timothy Boone at tboone@theadvocate.com.