“Our crew members were so thrilled last time,” co-CEO AJ Kumaran told The Washington Post. “So we decided to try our luck again. And now we’re all excited, waiting and crossing our fingers for a win.
As Mega Millions Hits $1 Billion, Winning Doesn’t Mean a Happy Ending
The jackpot has a cash payout option of $648.2 million. If a ticket purchased by Raising Cane’s is a winner, CEOs would split the sum equally among their employees, meaning workers would receive nearly $13,000 each – a welcome bit of extra money in the uncertainty of a changing labor market, inflation and fears of a recession.
“Look, I hear from our crew members all the time, and things are really tough there,” Kumaran said. “Whether they’re gassing up or buying groceries, they feel it and it’s hard. So it was an opportunity to have fun but at the same time hopefully earn some extra money for our people.
Yet some have questioned the executives’ decision to throw more money into a game with tiny odds of winning.
“You spent $100,000 on tickets and you lost, and you’re going to do it again? Why not give the money, give $200,000 to your employees? CNN’s John Berman asked Kumaran during an interview on Wednesday.
A quiz on your low odds of winning Mega Millions
Kumaran replied that buying lottery tickets were “really more than money”. The decision to distribute potential gains reflects “taking care of each other [and] standing next to each other like a family,” he said.
He told the Post that the idea of buying the lotto tickets really comes down to “doing the right thing” for the employees — and having a little fun.
“I don’t think it’s $100,000. It’s really $2 per crew member,” he said. “And if you think about it that way, it’s only a few dollars. They work really hard every day, and we do this so they have fun and try their luck. So I feel good doing it.
Kumaran also pointed to the $200 million in raises the company has paid its employees over the past two years. Raising Cane announced last year that it raise wages by about 15 percent for most employees.
The idea for the lottery started last Thursday, when Mega Millions announced that its jackpot had become one of the largest in gaming history. That’s when Kumaran offered Raising Cane to buy the tickets. The company’s general counsel, however, was not thrilled with the idea, he said.
Undeterred, Kumaran called on his co-CEO and founder, Todd Graves, to finance the tickets out of his own pocket. “We were like, ‘Okay, let’s do this as soon as possible, because how hard can it be to print 50,000 tickets?'”
In the end, quite difficult. Between getting the necessary cash from four different banks and opening two 7-Eleven convenience stores in Dallas to print the tickets, the plan turned into a 10-hour operation on Monday.
“Let me tell you, it’s nerve-wracking to be at a gas station with $100,000 in cash,” Kumaran said.
He was chewing on a hot dog as the orange and white bills slowly printed. Twice the machine had to be refilled – something that usually happens “every two months or so”, Kumaran said, the station manager remarked. Meanwhile, other customers were complaining about the hostage machine.
The fuss, however, was for naught – although it did help Kumaran find a way to streamline the process for his next attempt on Wednesday. That day, instead of driving around town with stacks of cash, he was able to transfer the $100,000 to 7-Eleven. The eight-hour wait to print the tickets was still the same, however.
On Friday night, a small team of Raising Cane employees will scan all 50,000 tickets to see if they can break the streak of 29 straight Mega Millions draws without a winner – a long-awaited roll that has inspired both ” jackpot hunters” and serious gamblers to throw their money away.
Only four jackpots have been hit this year, with the last one – worth around $20 million – being won on April 15 in Tennessee.
The odds of winning Big Friday are around 1 in 303 million – the odds of having a toilet-related injury or being named a saint are significantly higher.
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