2014 Second 100: Why Raising Cane's is the No. 7 fastest-growing chain

2014 Second 100: Why Raising Cane's is the No. 7 fastest-growing chain

This is part of Nation’s Restaurant News’ annual Second 100 report, a proprietary census ranking restaurant brands Nos. 101-200 by U.S. systemwide sales and other data. This special report focuses on a smaller, more growth-oriented universe than the Top 100 report. 

Born in Baton Rouge, La., in 1996, Raising Cane’s is a chicken-finger chain that has been growing at a rapid clip.

The quick-service concept ended 2013 with 178 units (125 company-owned and 53 franchised), a growth rate of 21 percent compared with the Preceding Year.

In July alone, Raising Cane’s was nearing the 200-unit mark with an opening in Oklahoma City that was the 15th in the state. Two more opened in Louisiana, where the chain has 59 restaurants. In Dallas/Fort Worth, the 25th Raising Cane’s opened.

2014 Second 100 top 10 growth chains at a glance >> [4]

Raising Cane's

As a concept, Raising Cane’s is known for its simplicity.

The menu includes various “box” meals with marinated and hand-battered fried chicken tenderloins, crinkle-cut fries, coleslaw, Texas toast and house-made Cane’s sauce.

That’s it.

The only decision a guest needs to make is how many chicken fingers they want or if they prefer them on a Kaiser roll as a sandwich.

Raising Cane’s branding is built around the motto “One Love” and the notion that if you do only one thing, do it really well. Company officials contend the decisively uncluttered menu allows the chain to maintain a level of quality that is unmatched.

Keys to Growth:

Simplicity. Raising Cane’s is mostly company owned, but the simple menu format will appeal to franchise operators.

Staying rooted. The company is led by founder Todd Graves, the chief executive who also uses the titles fry cook and cashier. Graves’ story as an entrepreneur has almost generated more attention than the brand itself. He submitted the business plan as a college student, then worked as a boilermaker and later as a commercial salmon fisherman to raise money to get started. With the help of a small-business loan, Graves got the first unit open and the concept took off.

Focus on community. Community involvement is built into the brand’s DNA, and each restaurant gives back in different ways. Five areas of focus for community involvement are education, feeding the hungry, pet welfare, inspiring active lifestyles and business development/entrepreneurship.

Quality. The chicken is never frozen and only premium tenderloins are used. The tenders are marinated for 24 hours, hand-battered and fried. The sauces and slaw are made in house.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected] [5].
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout [6]