Raising Cane's Is So Short On Workers, It's Asking Customers To Come Work There [Updated]

The labor shortage is forcing the chain to resort to unexpected staffing measures.

Update, October 26, 2021: Raising Cane's is now resorting to a new tactic when it comes to the hiring conundrum that so many restaurants and chains are dealing with. It's at the point where employees are now asking customers if they're looking for a job.

CBS Chicago reports that in the Chicagoland area, the employees at a Raising Cane's location in Naperville, Illinois, are walking up to customers in the dining room to ask if they want a job. They're also approaching drive-thru patrons for the same thing. The employees are also distributing "We're Hiring" cards to everyone they approach. Want a job as a side with your chicken tenders? I'm not sure how I'd respond if that happened to me, but hey, I've always wanted to operate a deep fryer.

CBS says Raising Cane's has managed to drum up 4,000 employees since the beginning of October, but is still trying to add 6,000 more. Maybe these tactics are working, but I really don't know many people who want to work at a restaurant these days. Would you?

Original post, October 8, 2021: Raising Cane's is a chain that slings chicken tenders with the best of them. (I'm a fan, as some of you longtime readers may remember.) Lately, the chain has felt the burden of the current market's labor shortages—which is why, in an interesting move, the company is sending a whopping half of its corporate staff to various Raising Cane's locations to fill open roles this week. Bloomberg reports that the suits will fulfill the duties of fry cooks, cashiers, and recruiters.

Business Insider explains that Raising Cane's is in the midst of a herculean push toward hiring 10,000 workers within the next 50 days to support aggressive expansion plans. (Good luck, considering other chains like White Castle are resorting to reaching out to applicants from years ago.) In the meantime, though, the corporate folks are heading to the kitchen.

Everyone can learn an immense amount from working at a restaurant. It's the best way to understand what service workers do on a daily basis. For fast food companies, I honestly think this kind of thing should be mandatory for corporate employees. Still, it's hard for me not to think this is some kind of PR stunt. Obviously, it's a productive one, which'll net prospective employees, I'm sure.

The Insider article doesn't mention exactly how long corporate workers will be in restaurants to complete this project; if it's just for, say, a week, that seems kind of insulting to employees who have to deal with cooking hazards and surly customers every single day.

"It's no secret that today's hiring market is a challenge," Raising Cane's co-CEO AJ Kumaran told Bloomberg. He also said that "having the support we need is critical" in order to support the company's plans for expansion. Weird. I wonder if there's something a company could do to attract more workers. Something radical like, oh, say, paying people more? And treating people like human beings and not, say, disposable items? Anyway, there's no word on whether or not the executives will man the fry equipment, but if they do, I've got a piece of advice as a long-time cook: Wear comfortable shoes. You're gonna need 'em.