Blissful 25th Birthday Elevating Cane | leisure

Every day, as you drive down Highland Road, you’ll see the Raising Cane’s thoroughfare winding around the parking lot and down the road.

The scene looked the same 25 years ago. The first Raising Cane’s opened on August 28, 1996 at the north gate of the LSU. The restaurant was so full that it stayed open until 3:30 a.m. Until today “The Mothership” location at 3313 Highland Road. stays open Thursday through Saturday until 3:30 a.m. and is aimed at the college audience that was its original audience.

“I was two years out of college when I first started,” said Todd Graves, founder and CEO of Raising Cane. “So I wanted to hire college students, I wanted college students clients and this really cool place.”

Cane’s is a special place for Lyric Mandell, a graduate student in media and public affairs at LSU.

With its long hours, fresh food and fun atmosphere, Cane’s has been one of Mandell’s favorite restaurants since graduating from the University of Houston. She said that she and her friends stopped by Cane’s on South Rice Avenue in Houston so often that the restaurant crew knew them all by name.

“It became a ritual for us to go bowling or see a movie, go to Cane’s and play one of the dozen board games I had in my suitcase,” said Mandell. “One summer we decided to see how many days we could pass without being bored – we got to 15 but figured it was best not to fill up our favorite spot afterwards.”

With nearly 600 Raising Cane locations, you can find caniacs like Almond all over the world. But the story behind the popular fast food chain has its roots in Baton Rouge, just like its founder.

Graves created the Raising Cane business plan, which his original business partner Craig Silvey presented in a course at LSU. The plan received the worst grade in the class.

Undeterred, Graves presented the idea to several banks, but was repeatedly rejected. He decided to raise his own capital. Graves worked as a boiler maker in oil refineries across the country and as a commercial fisherman in Alaska, but once he had enough money to secure a loan, he returned to his hometown of Baton Rouge.

“I love this community, you know. I’m a Baton Rouge boy and I’ve been a LSU fan since I was a kid, ”said Graves. “I decided to open the first raising canes at the North Gates of LSU because I just love it so much.”

Graves reconstructed the original Raising Cane, “The Mothership”, from what he did called a dilapidated building in a great location. He borrowed a friend’s tractor to relocate the parking lot and installed the cables under it himself. He built the business with his own hands and proudly lists it as job titles in his Biography.

“The congregation would come over and help me,” Graves said. “LSU band or LSU groups that came in – they might have some money for lunch or dinner, somewhere in their budget, they came to Canes because they knew I was working hard for this dream.”

Graves said his first advertisement was on Reveille and on KLSU.

“You’re thinking about it now, we have huge advertising budgets, right? Simply enormous advertising budgets. And you think it literally started there at LSU, ”said Graves.

A pile of Reveille newspapers is still on the counter at “The Mothership,” where Kelsey Segraves is the operations manager.

Working at Cane’s was Segrave’s first job right out of high school. She has worked at several Canes locations in the Baton Rouge area for the past five years. She said working on “The Mothership” was fun and eventful.

You never know when Graves will show up for a box combo – no coleslaw, extra toast, extra sauce. When tailgates and campus events happen like busy week, it gets busy, but Segraves says she loves working with the community.

“Come in and have a full lobby, I don’t know, it’s just the best feeling and the community around us,” said Segraves. “One of the things about Canes is that we know our community makes us successful. That’s why we try to give something back. “

Supporting the communities in which the company operates is a huge part of Raising Canes Mission. The restaurant has six areas of focus: Education, feeding the hungry, animal welfare, active lifestyle, business development and entrepreneurship and “everything else”.

It wasn’t until last year that Graves was launched “Restaurant relaxation” to help family-run restaurants struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Partnership with LSU to provide online education to crew members and their families.

Cane’s has returned over $ 100 million in its 25 years of business.

To celebrate his 25th birthdayNS To mark the 50th anniversary, Graves announced that Cane’s will be giving back $ 25 million in community support over the next year.

Graves initiated this effort by telling the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and Feeding Louisiana at a 25th anniversary celebration held at the original Cane’s Restaurant on Wednesday.

Raising canes

On August 25, 2021, a billboard above the Raising Cane restaurant at 3313 Highland Road in Baton Rouge reads “25 Years of Not Fixing What Ain’t Broke”.

What started as a college dream of opening a local location has grown to nearly 40,000 crew members, millions of customers, restaurants in 32 states, and locations in other countries like the Middle East.

“Part of this LSU community is really going through it,” Graves said.

After a quarter of a century of not changing anything – not even the menu – Cane’s is still doing what the business did best from the start: cooking high quality chicken finger meals and continuing the culture that built up here in Baton Rouge became.

“I think this is really special,” said Graves. “I’m just proud that 25 years later we still have the same tradition that we established 25 years ago at the north gate of LSU.”

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