Chicken joint Raising Cane's is turning office workers into cashiers and cooks temporarily - putting them up in hotels at company expense - to help
Chicken joint Raising Cane’s is turning office workers into cashiers and cooks temporarily – putting them up in hotels at company expense – to help shore up its labor force amid a worker shortage and rising wages.
The Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based company will deploy a third of its 750 corporate workers, or 250 people, as front-line workers, according to plans that emerged in the last week.
Another 250 marketers and trainers will shift to restaurant and recruiting jobs after the number of online applications decreased last month, though the company says it’s added 5,000 crew members over the past year.
‘It’s all hands on deck,’ co-CEO and COO AJ Kumaran told CNN.
He told Fox News that the fast food chain has been challenged by the rising costs of chicken and wages.
Most of the company’s corporate staff work out of Dallas, Texas. It’s unclear where they will be deployed, but Kumaran said it’s voluntary.
The move comes after a disappointing jobs report on Friday showed that the US economy added just 194,000 jobs of the 500,000 expected. In all, there are still 2 million more unemployed Americans than there were pre-pandemic.
Raising Cane’s will turn a third of its corporate workers into cooks and cashiers for 1-2 weeks
The Louisiana-based chain says declining online applications, combined with a labor shortage and rising food and wage costs, are behind the move
Most of the company’s 750 corporate workers work at the Dallas, Texas office, above
The Raising Cane’s reallocated workers will be housed in hotels for one to two weeks at company expense.
‘It’s obviously unprecedented times, there’s no playbook on how to get through it,’ Kumaran told CNN.
The executive says Cane’s will invest $70 million into worker wages, with hourly workers getting 15 to 22 percent raises over the next few weeks.
September’s US jobs report found that ‘rising demand for labor associated with the recovery from the pandemic may have put upward pressure on wages.’
The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 4.8 percent. Industries that saw gains in employment include leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail and transportation and warehousing.
Still, 7.7 million Americans are unemployed – meaning they are looking for work and not finding it – compared with 5.7 million in February 2020, before the pandemic.
‘It’s obviously unprecedented times, there’s no playbook on how to get through it,’ CEO and COO AJ Kumaran told CNN
They have 600 locations in 31 states. Five hundred of its 750 corporate workers work in Dallas
Republicans are calling the new jobs numbers ‘pathetic’ and say it’s proof that President Joe Biden’s multi-trillion spending plans aren’t working.
The report served as another blow after Biden earned his lowest approval rating yet – 38 percent – according to a new Quinnipiac Poll.
Raising Cane’s has 600 locations in 31 states.
The company said moving its workers to in-store roles for a couple weeks shouldn’t be difficult because most of them have already gone through training as fry cooks or cashiers, CNN reports.
The first Raising Cane’s opened at the entrance of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1996, according to the restaurant’s website. It was founded by Todd Graves, whose title is listed as ‘Founder, CEO, Fry Cook & Cashier,’ with the help of a loan from the federal Small Business Administration.
About 78 percent of restaurant operators say they’ve seen lower customer demand in recent weeks because of the highly contagious Delta variant, according to a survey of 4,000 operators released by the National Restaurant Association last month.
A September survey of 4,000 restaurant operators revealed that 71 percent are understaffed
Seventy-one percent are understaffed and nearly all of them, 95 percent, have experienced supply chain delays in the past three months.
In addition, 91 percent are paying more for food and 84 percent are paying more for labor.
In a letter to Congress on September 29, the National Restaurant Association opposed some of the terms of Biden’s Build Back Better Act, calling them too costly for businesses.
‘Our nation’s restaurant recovery is officially moving in reverse,’ said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of Public Affairs for the National Restaurant Association.
‘The lingering effects of the delta variant are a further drag on an industry struggling with rising costs and falling revenue. We support many of the goals of the Build Back Better Act, but the legislation is too large and too expensive a check for small businesses to take on.’
The group, which represents half a million restaurants, is against raising the corporate tax rate. It also opposes raising fines for labor violations under the National Labor Relations Act.
As part of its latest push, Raising Cane’s is looking to hire 10,000 more employees in 50 days.
Kumaran says the company started 2021 with 35,000 crew members and now has 40,000. It hopes to make that 50,000 by the end of the year.
It’s unclear what the starting wages at Cane’s are, though online job postings offer health insurance and paid time off after a year of employment.
Friday’s jobs report showed that unemployment slipped more than expected, but there are still 2 million more unemployed people than there were pre-pandemic
Cane’s did not immediately respond to requests for comment from DailyMail.com.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist David Autor said the labor shortage may be good for workers in the long run.
‘Indeed, the only times in the last four decades that US workers without college degrees saw rapid, sustained improvements in working conditions were during similar periods of labor scarcity,’ Autor wrote in a New York Times op-ed last month.
Autor noted that while many blame the expansion of federal unemployment benefits for the shortage, other countries that did not expand benefits are seeing similar declines in labor.
‘Imagine that the US had a market mechanism that spurred employers to voluntarily pay higher wages, offer better benefits and use workers more productively. Actually, that mechanism exists – it’s called a labor shortage,’ Autor wrote.
Companies are taking huge steps to fill up their ranks, going so far as offering generous benefits as incentives or dropping some requirements altogether.
The staffing firm ManpowerGroup released a survey last month that found that 9 percent of more than 45,00 firms in 43 countries were willing to ignore recreational drug use if it means filling vacant positions.
Amazon announced it would no longer test its applicants for marijuana in June.
Some state and federal leaders considered using federal incentives to get people back to work over the summer.
One idea was to tap into the federal jobless aid to create bonuses payments for people who land a job.
The bonuses, which states would be permitted to distribute, would range from $600 to $1,200 under legislation proposed by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).