Peninsula residents will soon have an additional restaurant option that specializes in chicken come this fall.
Hampton as well as York County will soon be home to Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. Based out of Baton Rouge, LA, the chain has been in business for almost 25 years and encompasses 640 locations in over half of the 50 United States. The only other location in Virginia is in Charlottesville.
Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers will occupy the former site of Ruby Tuesday at 3150 Kiln Creek Parkway in York County. The building that housed Ruby Tuesday has been leveled, a new foundation has been laid, and construction’s moving forward with an anticipated November opening.
Meanwhile, the Hampton site of Raising Cane’s will be located at 1044 West Mercury Blvd., where Casual Male XL used to be located, and is slated to open by October.
Founder and CEO Todd Graves imagined his vision of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers while he was a college student. His dream was to build a restaurant that served high-quality chicken finger meals and nothing else.
From this concept, Graves formed a business plan that, ironically, earned the lowest grade in the class. The professor said a restaurant that only served chicken fingers in South Louisiana would never be successful. Graves disagreed and trusted his instinct. The entrepreneur shared his business plan with any banker who would meet with him to discuss the venture. Each time, he was met with the same unfavorable response.
Graves knew he had to seek other options and raise his own cash to see his dream come to fruition. He went to California and worked as a boilermaker in an oil refinery. Then, on to Alaska, where he worked in commercial salmon fishing. When he returned home to Baton Rouge, Graves reconstructed an old building and began his first Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, naming it after his yellow lab, Raising Cane.
Dustin Shearer, vice president of company restaurants for Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, said both Peninsula locations will have the capacity to seat approximately 100 guests and offer two drive-thrus.
“We do a lot of things you don’t see in fast-food restaurants, like cook-to-order, using fresh, never frozen, products, and premium chicken-finger tenderloins,” said Shearer. He further described the chain as a brand that delivers high-quality food at fast-food speed and convenience.
Shearer said that while the restaurant chain is often lumped into a fast-food grouping, he emphasized the company’s dining areas offer a unique experience sometimes not found in the restaurant classification.
“Our managers are in the dining room getting refills for our customers and have a lot of engagement with them,” said Shearer.
In addition to chicken fingers, Raising Cane’s menu keeps it simple and offers crinkle-cut fries, coleslaw, Texas toast, drinks, and its signature Cane’s Sauce. Shearer said most locations open at 10am and close by midnight, some even later depending on demand in the area.
The Hampton and York County locations are looking to fill about 150 positions each.
“We’re hiring managers right now, and within the next few months, we’ll start hiring crew members,” said Shearer. Interested candidates are encouraged to visit Raising Cane’s website to apply for employment with the company.
Clarification: Raising Cane’s also has locations in Richmond and Norfolk. However, these locations are franchises and not owned directly by the company. The only other location in Virginia that is owned by the company is in Charlottesville.