The founder chairman and CEO of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, one of the most popular fast food restaurants in the USA, is Todd Graves. If you have ever tried these fried chicken fingers, then it would be interesting to hear the story where this idea came from at all.
This 47-year old is the one to blame for those delicious fast food meals, but what stands behind the whole story? Find out in the following paragraphs.
Todd Graves is born on February 20, 1972, in Baton Rouge, Lousiana.
He graduated from Episcopal High School in Baton Rouge in Louisiana, while the course of his career obviously went in another direction.
Todd has an idea about a fast food service that would focus on chicken fingers as the only item on the menu.
This all actually started as a college business plan.
Todd created it, and got the lowest grade for it, as his profession believed Todd’s vision would never work in reality.
He even worked as a fry cook in college, which actually helped him get the idea of chicken fingers business.
As Graves had a strong desire to turn his dream into reality, he decided to present his business plan to a couple of banks, and none of them recognized the potential here.
He was getting a negative response about the fast food concept, and some bankers advised him to go get a real job.
However, this didn’t discourage Graves but actually made him think in a way of raising his own capital.
As Graves didn’t have the money to finance this idea, so he had to work as a boilermaker in California first, and as a commercial sockeye salmon fisherman later.
Working hard, Todd managed to gather a solid amount of money, which gave him the opportunity to open Raising Cane’s for business in Baton Rouge, at the North Gates of Louisiana State University.
He constructed this building on his own hands, which made everything about his persistence clear.
However, he couldn’t do this alone, and his partner for founding the restaurant was Craig Silvey. These two opened the restaurant on August 28 in 1966.
You wouldn’t believe that Todd and Craig had only $30 profit after the first month.
If you were wondering about the restaurant’s name, Todd named it after his yellow Labrador dog, Raising Cane.
The current mascot of the Raising Cane’s is Raising Cane III. Todd announced a new mascot publicly on January 27th this year.
This fast food chain exists for over 20 years now, and Todd expanded the company overseas.
Now, he owns more than 360 restaurants in the US and around the world (including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain).
Even though you can buy their meals in 23 states across the US, you will find their restaurants in the South and Midwest primarily.
Todd opened 59 new restaurants in 2016, and 80 in 2018, which makes his Raising Cane’s one of the most rapidly growing businesses in the US and the Middle East.
A sharp contrast between other fast food chains and the Raising Cane’s is in the minimalist menu Todd imagined.
Raising Cane’s offers chicken fingers, chicken sandwich, kids’ meal, French fries, and Texas toast on their menu.
The focus here is on simplicity and efficiency, and that is why Todd experienced such growth and amassed huge fan base as well.
Raising Cane’s is truly a fast food service. A recent study showed that Todd has the fastest drive-thru service in the WHOLE United States. You will get your order at just two minutes and 48 seconds.
Todd was awarded numerous times for his success. In 2002, a local business news magazine, The Baton Rouge Business Report, named Todd as the Young Businessman of the Year.
This magazine named Todd Graves under their top 40 businessmen in 2000 as well, while 2002 was a complete success.
The Business Report named graves for this award because he achieved a lot before the age of 40.
Following, in 2008, Todd was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young company.
Todd was awarded in 2010 next time when he got SCORE Award for Outstanding Socially Progressive Business.
Year after year, in 2012 and 2013, Todd was named Restauranter of the Year and Louisianan of the year.
Yet, this is not the end, as everybody recognized Graves’s entrepreneurial spirit – Chain Leader, QSR, Nations Restaurant News, USA Today, Rolling Stone, and many more.
Neil Cavuto invited Todd to “Your World” on FOX News Network, followed with his next appearance on “FOX and Friends”.
CNN’s series Headline News’s “Pulse on America” also recognize the enormous Todd’s potential. Todd is a great philanthropist as well.
His Raising Cane supports thousand of initiatives, organizations, non-profits, and local schools each year.
Todd’s journey from the business plan to achieving the success he lives through today made him realize we all need help sometimes, and he was willing to help everyone as he knew how hard it was for him to get any.
The focus on the company’s involvement is in feeding the hungry, education, business development/entrepreneurship, pet welfare, and active lifestyles.
Todd and Raising Cane’s give back $25 million to the communities means he is giving 25% of total earnings.
Speaking of individual investment in detail, we could divide those 25% into:
- Food banks and feeding the hungry includes organizing massive food drives and making significant donations.
- Supporting more than 2000 educational institutions,
- Being actively involved in SCORE, Junior Achievement, young professional organizations, and 75 professional organizations.
- Financing events that promote an active lifestyle, such as walks, sports, community races, leagues, and tournaments,
- Investing in dog parks in Louisiana, sponsoring humane societies’ events and programs, and visiting hospitals and nursing homes.
His journey inspired hundreds of young people around the world, as he guest lectures at high schools and universities.
Todd is teaching young people on leadership, entrepreneurship, and active community involvement.
The Fox Broadcasting version of reality shows invited Todd to participate in the Secret Millionaire in 2008.
This show follows the lifestyle of individual millionaires who are involved in empowering communities but go undercover.
Todd participated in this reality show with his wife, Gwen.
The couple spent one week in a place destroyed by Hurricane Katarina – South Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana.
Katarina is the largest natural disaster in US history, and that was a true challenge for Todd and Gwen to find some people who would be willing to make an impact in the community.
Todd and Gwen donated $400,000 for this project.
As cooking is not strange activity to Todd, he likes to walk in the kitchen from time to time, and prepare red beans and rice or gumbo.
Todd and Gwen have two children (a daughter and a younger son), and the family resides in Baton Rouge.
The family likes to play T-ball games and soccer together, while the environment they are living in gives them a lot of opportunities for having fun outdoors.
Gwen was once a McDonald’s franchisee, but she decided to sell the business in order to spend more time with her and Todd’s kids, and devote herself more to the community.
As a part of her work, Gwen visits pet hospitals with Raising Cane II.
Todd likes to spend his time with his family the most but tries to find some time for fitness and other outdoor activities when there is some spare time.
He is a football fan and goes to New Orleans Saints and LSU games all the time.
Full Name: Todd Graves
Date of Birth: February 20, 1972
Birthplace: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Profession: CEO and founder of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers
Height: 1,8 m
Net Worth: $150 million