National fast-food chain jobs Raising Canes Chicken Fingers has a new solution to the restaurant industry’s labor shortage: It’s asking corporate employees to work as cooks and cashiers. 

The privately held company based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has a total of 750 corporate employees, 500 in its Dallas office. Of these, 250 will go to the field as front-line employees. Another 250 who work as marketers and trainers will move into catering and contracting jobs. 

Employees will be accommodated in hotels for one or two weeks at the expense of the company. In other corporate jobs employees will recruit more workers or work in one of the companies with more than 500 self-service services. “Everything is practical,” said co-CEO and COO AJ Kumaran. 

Most corporate workers will have already received training as a cook or cashier, the company said. Kumaran said he saw the effects of the labor shortage in mid-September when job applications suddenly dropped online. 

 “Pretty soon we had to start dropping hours of operations; we had to cut down some of our channels, like mobile ordering and dining rooms,” Kumaran said. Cane’s is looking to hire 10,000 more people in 50 days. 

Kumaran also said Cane’s would invest $70 million into workers’ wages, with hourly workers receiving 15-22% wage increases over the next few weeks. “It’s obviously unprecedented times; there’s no playbook on how to get through it,” Kumaran said. 

September marked the second month in a row that the US economy added far fewer jobs than expected after job growth slowed dramatically in August. Hiring at restaurants and bars fell as consumers avoided going out due to the Delta variant. 

A September survey by the National Restaurant Association found that 78% of restaurant jobs staff said they had experienced a decline in customer demand in recent weeks due to concerns about Delta variants. 

Meanwhile, 71% of restaurants are understaffed as they battle supply shortages. Nearly all of the restaurants surveyed (95%) said they had experienced supply delays or key food or beverages shortages in the past three months. 

Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs for the National Restaurant Association, said, “Our nation’s restaurant recovery is officially moving in reverse.” 

Source: Action News Now