Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers is a fast-food restaurant chain founded in Baton Rouge, Louisiana by Todd Graves and Craig Silvey on August 26, 1996. The restaurant offers chicken fingers as its only main course. Raising Cane's total revenue in 2007 was $97.3 million. Its headquarters remain in Baton Rouge, La., though the company opened a second restaurant support office in Plano, Texas in 2009.
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Todd Graves first started dreaming of his very own restaurant in the early 1990s. Craig Silvey, an initial partner in Todd's plan, was enrolled in a business plan writing course at LSU at the time. Craig and Todd wrote the business plan and Silvey turned it in, for which Silvey received a "B-". Although the business plan was rejected numerous times by potential investors, Graves set out to earn the money he needed to start the restaurant, first by working in refineries in Louisiana, then by fishing for sockeye salmon in Alaska. He and Silvey then obtained a small SBA loan, which they used to open the first restaurant in Baton Rouge at the intersection of Highland Road and State Street near the LSU campus. They even drew on the help of friends and family for some of the work on Cane's 1, and many of these names are carved in the restaurant woodwork. Originally, the small restaurant competed against a similarly themed drive-in called Bailey's Chicken Fingers on the opposite end of the campus. By 1999, however, Raising Cane's was able to prove itself the more successful business: it forced Bailey's out of business, becoming the only chicken-finger focused restaurant in the area.
In mid-1999, Silvey sold his stake to Graves to focus on completing an MBA at Wake Forest University and work in Silicon Valley. Later, Graves asked Silvey to return to Cane's as vice president of finance and information technology.
By 2006, the chain had grown to more than 50 locations. Most of the locations are in Louisiana, particularly in the Baton Rouge area. The first location outside of Baton Rouge was opened in 2001 in Lafayette, Louisiana--since then, new restaurants have been opened in 14 other states, in addition to all eight metropolitan areas of Louisiana. Graves plans to continue expansion of his restaurant chain throughout the United States and internationally. They currently have more than 150 locations in 15 states.
In January 2009, the company opened a second restaurant support office in Plano, Texas. In June 2011 Raising Cane's opened its 100th restaurant in Laurel, Miss. In February 2013 Raising Cane's opened its 150th location in San Antonio, Texas.
Graves and Silvey, who both worked as salmon fishermen in Alaska to raise money to open the first Raising Cane's restaurant, were going to name the chain Sockeye's Chicken Fingers, after the Sockeye salmon they fished for. They were later convinced to name it after Graves's dog, a yellow Labrador, "Raising Cane," called "Cane" for short. Currently, the mascot for the restaurant is Raising Cane II.
The original Raising Cane's was established in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at the North Gates of Louisiana State University, at the intersection of East State Street and Highland Road. When remodeling the building, Graves discovered a mural and logo for a previous business - Wolf's Bakery - under the cracking paint on the south interior wall. The Raising Cane's logo is a takeoff on the logo for the bakery. The remains of the mural and the logo are still visible and intact on the wall inside the restaurant.
Cane's menu originally consisted of three options: "The Plate," "The Box" and "The Sandwich". All three meals could be ordered with a drink. Following expansion of the franchise, the menu expanded first to standardized combos. As of now, the menu consists of four main combos including "The Box Combo," "The 3-Finger Combo," "The Caniac Combo" and "The Sandwich Combo." The menu also includes a Kid's Meal and several tailgate options.
Cane's Sauce is provided with all chicken finger meals and is the signature sauce of the restaurant. All Cane's employees are held to a confidentiality agreement regarding any details about the recipe. Honey mustard is also made fresh and is available as a substitute for the Cane's sauce at most locations. Louisiana Hot Sauce packets are available by request at most locations, though unadvertised.