History of the Raising Canes Restaurant

The Story Behind Raising Canes Restaurant

If you love chicken fingers, chances are you’ve heard of Raising Canes. From humble beginnings to the nationwide name for chicken sticks, Rising Canes strives to serve the best chicken sticks in town, and they do it with flair!

From signature chicken wing sauces to mouth-watering side dishes, Raising Canes has something for everyone. Want to know how this restaurant came about? Read on for the history of Raising Canes Chicken Fingers!

History of growing canes:

The Chicken Sticks restaurant may not seem like the most common business idea, but this is exactly what the founders of the restaurant decided to do.

In fact, when the first Raising Canes opened in Louisiana in 1996, there were only a handful of employees working behind the scenes! Raising Canes’ original location was in Baton Rouge.

Cane raising background

It all started with a goal that Todd Graves (the founder) set for himself in college: to open a restaurant serving chicken wings and nothing else. To bring his vision to life, Todd developed a business plan and presented it to his professor. Ironically, his plan received the lowest marks in the class.

A restaurant that only serves chicken fingers will never open in South Louisiana.were the words of his professor.

However, Todd did not give up. He presented his plan to numerous bankers, but to no avail. Anyone at this point would have given up and switched to something else, but not Todd. He remained persistent.

The struggle of the founder – Todd Graves:

After countless bankers rejected his idea, Todd decided to save up the money himself. He moved to California to work at an oil refinery. From there, he moved to Alaska to work in the dangerous salmon industry.

In 2013 interviewGraves shared that he spent long hours at the refinery and worked 90-hour weeks as a boiler foreman. When he moved to Alaska, he spent 20 hours on the board catching sockeye salmon.

How cane cultivation began:

With enough money saved up, Graves returned to Louisiana, took out an SBA loan, and opened a restaurant. At first, he decided to name it Sockeye Chicken Fingers because he spent so much time catching this type of fish that he simply decided to name the diner after her.

However, one of his friends spoke up and convinced him to change his name to something more personal and close to him, such as his dog, and that’s when it got a name; Raising the cane.

Place of the first raising of the canes – Mothership:

The first Raising Cane to serve chicken fingers was, and still is, on Highland Road in Baton Rouge. It all started in the mid-90s, when Todd and his small team opened a store in a former bakery at the entrance to Louisiana State University.

While renovating the location, the film crew discovered a mural on the wall that was actually the bakery’s logo, which was also the inspiration for the Raising Canes logo. This mural is also the reason why every Raising Cane location has a logo somewhere on the wall, as if it had just been discovered.

With over 500 locations around the world, the first venue is called The Mothership, which means the founding ship of all Raising Cane ships.

How did it happen?

Raising Canes has been a hit from the start. The first establishment, Mothership, opened on August 28, 1996, and customers immediately rushed in. That day it was open until 3:30 am and continued to operate until that time for several days after that. Even though all establishments close early today, Mothership still closes at 3:30am Thursday through Saturday.

With over 500 restaurants in 27 US states and five countries, Raising Canes is constantly growing. They have received countless awards. This includes Best Chicken Tenders by The Fasties, a fast food awards show hosted by Thrillist.

The funny thing is that no one believed this idea, not his business professor, not his colleagues, not even the bankers, but the same idea was a huge success from day one. Winner of the “Most Loyal Guests” award in the “Consumer Choice” category from Techonomic in 2018.

Parting words:

Entrepreneurs, what do you think of this story?

It’s amazing how a small idea can create a thriving business. Don’t underestimate your ideas just because they are new and different from others. You just need to believe in your product or service, be authentic, and watch it grow exponentially. For Raising Canes Chicken, following these steps resulted in success in no time!


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