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Is Raising Cane’s a Franchise?

If you want to invest in a Raising Cane’s franchise, you might be out of luck; the popular chicken chain isn’t currently offering franchise opportunities.

By Victoria CampisiStaff Writer
8:08AM 03/11/24

Raising Cane's, the chicken fingers quick service chain with over 730 locations and a strong cult-following, is a franchise, but is not currently available for franchising.

Raising Cane’s has several franchise-owned restaurants open, operated by partners who have been with the system since the original program was started over a decade ago. 

The History of Raising Cane’s

Raising Cane’s story began in 1996, when the first location opened in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At that time, the concept of a restaurant exclusively serving chicken fingers seemed unconventional. Todd Graves, the founder, had a vision of creating a restaurant dedicated solely to chicken finger meals and, despite facing skepticism, he was determined to turn his idea into reality.

Graves faced initial challenges as his business plan received low marks from his college professor, and numerous bankers rejected his idea. Undeterred, he saved up money by working in various challenging jobs, including at an oil refinery in California and fishing for sockeye salmon in Alaska. With the funds he accumulated, Graves returned to Louisiana, took out an SBA loan, and finally opened the first Raising Cane's location.

Originally named "Sockeye's Chicken Fingers" after the type of fish Graves used to catch, a friend suggested a more personal name. The restaurant was then named "Raising Cane" after Graves' dog. The first location, known as "The Mothership," opened on Highland Road in Baton Rouge, and during its reconstruction, a mural on the wall inspired the iconic Raising Cane's logo.

Despite initial doubts, Raising Cane's was an instant hit. The Mothership opened its doors on August 28, 1996; business was so good that Graves kept the restaurant open until 3:30 a.m. that first day. In 2000, the brand began franchising. 

Prioritizing Corporate Growth

In a strategic move, the brand has opted to redirect its focus away from seeking new franchises. Instead, Raising Cane's primary objective lies in the expansion of corporate-owned stores, particularly on the East Coast.

“Currently, we are focused on the rapid development of company-affiliated restaurants in a very specific geography, while continuing to support our existing franchise business partners,” the brand states on its website. “Unfortunately, we are not entertaining franchise or development opportunities anywhere at this time. But if you have a recommendation for a location, please Contact Us.”

Future Franchising Prospects

So, will Raising Cane's open its doors to franchising in the future? While the current stance is clear — no franchise opportunities are available — the brand's past financials provide a glimpse into potential future investment levels. Historically the brand had a franchise fee of up to $45,000, with a total initial investment range of $768,100 to $1,937,500, according to franchisegrade.com

Whether the future holds new opportunities for franchisees or not, it’s clear Raising Cane's remains positioned for growth. 

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