Raising Cane’s raises starting wages to $12 an hour

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 10:16 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - One fast food restaurant in the Capital City is raising its starting wage three dollars higher than the state’s minimum wage. It’s an effort to retain employees while attracting new ones.

Those who work at Raising Cane’s went into work on Wednesday receiving at least $12 an hour. This is part of what Cane’s called an aggressive growth plan which includes a $500,000 investment by the company.

Raising Cane’s at 48th and R streets is one of 16 Cane’s locations in Nebraska. This wage adjustment to $12 an hour is about a dollar raise per employee according to the regional leader.

“Our crew members are the heart and soul of what we do,” said Jason Zwerin Raising Cane’s Regional Leader. “It’s just nice to let them have this opportunity to get paid like this.”

Cane’s is hoping the decision to raise wages will help with growth for next year. The company plans to open 100 new locations countrywide.

“We’re going to need a lot of crew members,” said Zwerin. “We have this 50/50 plan where we’re trying to get to 50,000 crew members in 50 days.”

The Nebraska Department of Labor lists cooks and fast food 5th on the lowest annual wages list in Nebraska. The annual earnings are just over $23,000 a year.

According to the Nebraska Restaurant Association, raising wages is nothing new.

“I don’t think there’s a business in Nebraska that hasn’t raised wages in the past few months and won’t continue to do that,” said Zoe Olson Nebraska Restaurant Association’s Executive Director. “We have restaurants that are hiring at $18-20 an hour.”

With record low unemployment in Nebraska at 2%, restaurants are just one of many industries competing for employees. Olson said she hopes things get back to normal next year.

Other fast food restaurants are continuing to raise their wages. McDonald’s hopes to reach $15 dollars an hour by 2024. Amigos in Lincoln is at $15 an hour, and Runza is currently advertising for new hires at $13 an hour.

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