Companies Hiring, Executive Feature

Top CEO Career Advice: ‘Find Something You’re Passionate About & Work Hard to Get It’

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Anyone who has ever worked in the restaurant or food service industries will tell you that it’s not easy work. However, they probably haven’t worked at Baton Rouge-based eatery, Raising Cane’s. In addition to serving irresistible chicken fingers, the restaurant serves up a fun and friendly environment for patrons and employees. And this culture starts at the top.

CEO and Founder Todd Graves started as a fry cook and cashier, on the front lines ensuring quality and positivity. He says, “You see, I’m fortunate, I don’t have a job, I have a passion. I love seeing my dream and the dream of our crew, become a reality everyday. It’s wonderful bringing great people together to grow something truly great.”

It’s no wonder that Graves has been named one of the 2019 Top CEOs in the U.S. With a 95% approval rating, itis clear that his employees believe in his vision of “one love” and creating a great work environment. We caught up with Graves to talk about his win, what makes Raising Cane’s such a unique place to work, and the advice he’d give every job seeker.

Glassdoor: Congratulations on the Top CEOs win. How does it feel to have employees rave about your leadership?

Todd Graves: Each day, I am motivated by what I can do for our Crew and our Communities. I truly believe this to be my purpose. From the early days of Raising Cane’s, I have always wanted to create a great place to work. Most people’s first job is in the restaurant industry so I see this not only as an opportunity to train our Crew for our Restaurants but also to have them experience positive values and work ethic they can carry with them throughout their lives. I see it as our responsibility to provide a great work environment with the opportunity to grow. For our Crew to take the time to share their experience so that others know that Raising Cane’s is a great place to work, means the world to me. To receive this recognition that comes directly from our Crew gives me so much pride; I am over the moon!  This motivates me to work even harder for our Crew, our Customers and our Communities.

Glassdoor: Not only is this a testament to your leadership, but also to the leaders you have hired. What do you look for in Raising Cane’s leaders?

Todd Graves: There are many amazingly talented executives in our industry however for us, it always comes down to being a Culture fit, and a “Serving Leader” (who enjoys serving others). Our Company leaders are passionate about what we do. They believe in our Vision, live our Mission and are committed to our Core Values and Non-Negotiables. They recognize that our success is reliant on our Culture

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Glassdoor: When you hire, what attributes are you looking for?

Todd Graves: At Raising Cane’s we are looking for authentic, genuine and hardworking people that believe in and help execute our vision to grow locations all over the world be known as the brand for quality chicken finger meals, great crew, cool culture and active community involvement.  We have a wide variety of roles that we are recruiting for at any given time which may have specific requirements but we are all Fry Cooks and Cashiers. We recruit people who genuinely want to be a part of Raising Cane’s and are eager to work in our Restaurants or work to support our Restaurants.

Glassdoor: In today’s tight job market, how are you approaching recruiting and talent attraction? 

Todd Graves: We are always looking for great people because even though we are in the Restaurant business, it is our Crew that make the food and customer experience special.  Our recruiting strategy is focused.  We are a fast-growing company with many opportunities, both for advancement for our Crewmembers as well as for new Crewmembers at all levels.  Our philosophy is that we are always hiring, looking for passionate people to join in our journey! We work very hard to promote internally as well as recruit externally to bring new people to our team for their expertise and new ideas. 

Glassdoor: When it comes to Glassdoor, how do you use the platform for recruiting and to keep your finger on the pulse of both company culture and candidate experience?

Todd Graves: We use Glassdoor to get a pulse on what is happening with our teams, keep up with industry trends and to provide a platform for job seekers to find anonymous reviews about what it is really like to work here.  We also leverage Glassdoor for job postings and an opportunity to showcase videos of some of our Crew and their career path as they have grown with the company. 

Glassdoor: Retention is hugely important these days. How do you lead your teams to retain top talent?

Todd Graves: It always goes back to our Culture that is deeply rooted in the appreciation of our Customers, our Crew and our Communities.  We work very hard to show appreciation for our Crew that work hard every day in our Restaurants serving our Customers. At Cane’s, we are all Fry Cooks and Cashiers first. No matter what role you are hired for, you are going to train to be a Fry Cook and Cashier. It’s a title that is earned and it’s the most important role at Cane’s. We have an entire department called Cane’s Love created to recognize, reward and respect our Crew. Our Crew loves what do and it shows with industry-leading Customer Service as well as industry-leading retention.

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Glassdoor: Now for a few fun ones: What is one book that you think everyone should read? Why?

Todd Graves: Entrepreneur Voices on Company Culture by Derek Lewis.  With interesting case studies including a chapter on Raising Cane’s, this book helps you create a Culture that fits your brand.

Glassdoor: What is your go-to productivity hack?

Todd Graves: Video Conferencing saves me a lot of travel time.

Glassdoor: What is your #1 job search tip?

Todd Graves: When I speak to students I always tell them to find their, “ONE LOVE.” What I mean by that is to find something they are passionate about and work hard to get it.  Don’t just take any job, do your research and find a company that you believe in. Look for companies with a great culture and a fun work environment. When you love what you do, you are naturally more successful.  

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