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Raising Cane's raises average wages to $19.50 an hour — 'The right thing to do'

Fast growing restaurant chain Raising Cane's is investing more than $9 million into its workforce, but co-CEO and COO AJ Kumaran said the return of investment is far higher.

"Once you take care of people, the business will pay for itself," Kumaran told Yahoo Finance Live this week.

As part of this initiative, the company is offering employees an average hourly wage of $19.50, plus opportunities to make $2 more per hour within the first 12 months of employment, $1 more to work past 10 p.m., and $2 more per hour to train employees, among other incentives.

Kumaran said retention should "definitely improve" as a result of this initiative, adding, "we have some of the best retention rates in the entire industry."

The company, which is privately held, is currently eyeing expansion, with plans to open 1,500 domestic and international locations that will employ more than 150,000 new people. The company plans to use existing employees to do the training and cover rent for up to six months for workers heading to a new restaurant in a new market.

"It is a total win-win," Kumaran said.

This year alone, the company plans to open over 100 restaurants brining its total to more than 800 locations.

The expansion includes five flagship locations in Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago, Nashville, and in Times Square. Other locations in New York that are set to open in 2023 include two in Brooklyn, one in Queens, and a location across the street from Yahoo Finance HQ in Greenwich Village.

Raising Cane's employees serving guests (Courtesy: Raising Cane's)
Raising Cane's employees serving guests (Courtesy: Raising Cane's)

'One step ahead into the future'

Raising Cane's also offers restaurant leaders who are first-time homebuyers $10,000 towards closing costs.

Kumaran said the "reaction has been incredible" and allows the chicken finger chain to be "one step ahead into the future" when it comes to supporting staff in both their professional and personal lives.

As for the ultimate cost of the company's investments in its team, Kumaran said the $9 million figure "is probably on the low end" of what the company expects to invest in growing its team in the years ahead.

"It is a much bigger number."

Brooke DiPalma is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at

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