Skip navigation

Raising Cane’s finds focus leads to sales, unit growth in 2020

25-year-old brand leans into quality, says co-CEO AJ Kumaran


During the 2020 pandemic year, Datassential tracked Raising Cane’s to a 11.4% growth in units and 17.5% growth in sales.

AJ Kumaran, co-CEO of the Baton Rouge, La.-based fast-casual brand, said he expects “2021 is going to be even bigger and better” for the limited-service chicken tender concept.

“We have aspirations to build about another 85 new restaurants and enter about 15 to 20 new markets in the next 12 months, which is incredible growth,” he said. “We are entering our 31st state [Wisconsin] coming up here soon in Milwaukee.”

Raising Cane’s, which was founded in 1996 by co-CEO Todd Graves, has honed in on its spare menu for the past 25 years.

“People call it simple. But it's not simple, it's focused,” Kumaran said. “And focus is hard. Focus is not easy.

“Other people think focus is easy and jump into it,” Kumaran said. “Focus means your customer — every single customer — knows your product is as good as you make it or even better. That is hard.”

Datassential’s Firefly 500-plus data ranked Raising Cane’s No. 69 among domestic brands with 509 units at the end of 2020, up 52 from the previous year. Systemwide sales were $1.722 billion in 2020.

Subscribe to our podcast wherever you get your podcasts here.

Top 500 landing page banner.png

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

The Top 500 report is presented by Nation’s Restaurant News and Datassential, using insights from Datassential’s proprietary Firefly platform. Datassential’s Firefly is the ultimate strategic tool — No. 1 operator database, lead generator, customer marketing and intelligence platform, all-in-one. Learn more about getting complete access at

Correction: July 08, 2021
A previous version of this story reported inaccurate 2020 sales and unit-count information for Raising Cane's.
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.