Raising Cane’s Gives Back to the Community
By EMILY RAMSEY
EMPLOYEE APPRECIATION: Sean Sylvester, kneeling, general manager of Raising Cane’s in Bixby, poses with his employees as they point forward in their restaurant, located at 10255 S. Memorial Dr.
EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers
Raising Cane’s began in Louisiana in 1996, and while it quickly became known for its chicken fingers, company founder Todd Graves endeavors to use his company for a purpose beyond food, one of community and employee focus.
In 2013, Raising Cane’s gave $5.5 million to charities across the U.S.
In the greater Tulsa area, the company has five restaurants: in Bixby, Broken Arrow, Owasso and two locations in Tulsa. The Bixby store, 10255 S. Memorial Dr., opened in October 2013, and General Manager Sean Sylvester quickly found a number of ways to impact the surrounding areas.
Weekly, the store donates unused bread and packaging materials to the Bixby Outreach Center. It is an official sponsor of the Bixby Spartans and supports Jenks Public Schools athletics.
Horizon Animal Heroes, a Bixby animal rescue clinic, has also been a recipient of the store’s community kindness.
After finding out that employees at the shelter had to leash-walk every dog because the facility did not have a fenced-in outdoor area, the restaurant team formed a group of employees to build a fence for the clinic before the employees began training to open the Bixby location.
“It’s about what we can do in whatever community we are in,” Sylvester says, next citing the aid that the company provided in the aftermath of the Moore tornado.
“After the tornado, the Moore restaurant hurried to reopen to provide meals and support for the community in any way possible in order to help relieve the stress that Moore residents were experiencing,” he continues. “We had trucks running to housing additions, giving food to people.”
Yet, as great of an interest that Raising Cane’s shows for its community, its interest in its employees goes equally far.
“The aim is to promote fun in the organization,” says Sylvester.
The company does that through a number of ways. It closes its doors on every holiday and hosts employee celebrations two times per year, for Christmas and Memorial Day, “with the focus of the crews spending time with their families,” he says.
Companywide, management teams are treated well. Every year, the company invites all of its general managers to each bring a friend or family member to accompany them on a trip. For example, recently, the company chartered planes and took its managers to the Dominican Republic for a three-day, all-expense-paid vacation.
On a store level, employees receive prizes and giveaways. Because of the company founder’s love of animals, employees also receive pet insurance.
Additionally, each location emphasizes fun for employees. “If employees are enjoying their jobs, then the customers will enjoy being there,” says Sylvester.
Part of that fun is created through music. “The music is always louder in the back of the store,” he says. “There’s always a lot of dancing and laughing.”