Founders of large global chains rarely have the time or energy to go around visiting all of their branches, but Todd Graves of Raising Cane’s is an exception. When you meet him, you are hit with an infectious smile, bursts of energy and excitement.
He is a dreamer. Todd started out with a vision for opening a restaurant just outside his college campus and worked some of the toughest jobs to raise the capital. He was a boilermaker in California and a commercial fisherman in Alaska, proof that he would go to the ends of the earth to see his dream come to fruition.
But he has also become a planner. Todd acknowledged that being an entrepreneur means that you want to do all the things to make your dreams come true, but you also need discipline, planning and dedication to actually see things through. If you spread yourself too thin, operations suffer. This is a lesson that he learned really well. Because, when the time came to transform the company from an entrepreneurial one to a global chain, Raising Cane’s retained its spirit and seamlessly moved forward with professionally managed strategies and plans.
Raising Cane’s is a billion-dollar company. It is the fastest growing restaurant concept in the United States and has the highest ratings for satisfaction, taste and intent to return. They operate 375 restaurants all over the world. And it only took two decades to get this far.
Todd’s vision for the restaurant is very clear, and it isn’t just a slogan for him. The brand is committed to growing all over the world and to be the brand for quality chicken finger meals, a great crew, cool culture and active community involvement.
Which is why they have One Love, and do one thing and do it really well. If they don’t, they are no longer special, and people can easily recognize if anything is off. So, Raising Cane’s is committed to making sure every meal is perfect.
The crew is very involved and loyal to the brand. They are not considered employees, instead it is a huge family. They genuinely welcomed Todd with open arms when he visited Kuwait and were happy and excited to see him. His crew is treated fairly, gets to learn new skills and can move along their career paths easily. He is very proud of them and their happiness is important to him. He never once called them employees but always a crew. During the entire time I spent with Todd, he would smile, wave and yell hellos to all of them.
He is also very proud of seeing his company grow. But it is not about him, it is about being able to give back to the people that they serve. Locally, they are involved with schools, hospitals, gardens and the disabled community. He is partial to teachers. For him, teacher appreciation is a huge deal. Teachers do so much for our children, simply for the love of teaching more than anything. Their efforts deserve acknowledgement and support. This is something that Raising Cane’s regularly does, and they aim to be involved more with schools in Kuwait soon. It is about making a real difference for local people.
I asked him if he still gets cravings for chicken tenders in the middle of the night. “Oh yeah!” Todd replied excitedly. He still eats them at least once a week, perhaps on a Sunday when he is tired and in the mood for some comfort food.
Everyone can relate to that. The two most asked questions he gets in Kuwait, is when will they be opening their next branch and when will they start delivering. Raising Cane’s is working on fulfilling both requests. For now, the Jabriya branch will start delivering soon and Kuwait Ahmadi branch will be opening for Dine in and take away sometime in May 2018.
Todd let me in on a not-so-secret secret. I asked him how he orders his meal. His go-to choice is chicken tenders with no salt, and trades the slaw for extra sauce. Turns out that this is also an option for all of us. The next time you are at Raising Cane’s you can choose to get extra of your favorite side, although that does seem like a very difficult choice, because I can’t possibly think of the side I am willing to miss out on.
Raising Cane’s is located in Grand Avenue – The Avenues (2228 3803), Jabriya (2208 1392), and Kuwait International Airport (2208 1395). Follow them on Instagram @raisingcanesme for the latest updates!
Images courtesy of Raising Cane’s.