Monday, August 24, 2009
The culture of the Miss River valley: Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers
The initial concept for Raising Cane's comes from a concept developed by Graves for a business class project at LSU, for which he received a "C-". Although the business plan was rejected numerous times by potential investors, Graves and Silvey obtained a loan, which they used to open the first outlet in Baton Rouge at the intersection of Highland Road and East State Street near LSU. Originally competing against a similarly-themed drive-in called Bailey's Chicken Fingers on the opposite end of the campus, by 1999, Raising Cane's was able to prove itself the more successful business: it bought out Bailey's, 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 over 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 stores have been opened in Mississippi, Texas, Colorado, Georgia, Ohio, Oklahoma, Nevada, Alabama, Virginia, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Nebraska, in addition to all eight metropolitan areas of Louisiana. Graves plans to continue expansion of his restaurant chain throughout the United States and internationally.