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Raising Cane’s wants to double its branches in Saudi Arabia: Founder


May 7, 2023
Raising Cane’s wants to double its branches in Saudi Arabia: Founder


Todd Graves, founder of Raising Cane’s, said that the Saudi market growth has made them invest further in their branches here.

Speaking to Saudi Gazette, Graves said they hope to double Raising Cane’s branches in Saudi Arabia from 9 – 18.

“We have 100 Saudi nationals working in the region and we have Saudi nationals as managers, including many women in management roles,” he said.

Here are the excerpts:

Q: What strengths do you see in the Saudi market?

A: The KSA market is dynamic. We came to this region because we love people who like quality food! Knowing that people in KSA like fried chicken, we provided quality food items that they crave which has made us popular in the Kingdom. We knew we wouldn’t have to change the menu; this is the exact same menu we have in the United States.

It took us 2 years to source the right products and achieve the same taste, however, working in a different market regarding suppliers and similar. The Saudi market growth has made us invest further in our branches here. We see the benefit of the diversity in population and have noticed that people like to go and spend time and money in restaurants and eating out.

Q: What are your future expansion plans?

A: We have 705 restaurants globally. We opened three restaurants this week alone and this is our fourth in only 7 days. Our restaurants are United States based, but the Middle East is our first growth area outside of America. We’re so excited about the growth of our Saudi business as it has a great population, and you have people that like to visit good restaurants regularly.

You can grow, and then you can continue to grow, and we’re very excited about creating new jobs. As of now, we have over 300 people in Riyadh — this is our ninth location — and we are looking to double that in 18 months which means we want to move from 9 branches to 18. We eventually hope to have 20 branches in KSA which will mean over 700 crew members.

We have 100 Saudi nationals working in the region and we have Saudi nationals as managers, including many women in management roles. In the future, we will have more than 50 branches in the whole region by 2024. We are looking at Jeddah, Madinah, Makkah and Dammam.

In Dubai, we have four new branches in the pipeline, 3 of which are in flagship locations: Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah Beach Residence and Sheikh Zayed Road. All branches will open within 20-24 months.

Q: What are the challenges that the brand faces?

A: Supply chain! The COVID-19 pandemic was tough, but our drive-thru’s helped business a lot at this time. COVID-19 has caused price inflation across the board. We are now starting to get back in line.

Delays in construction around the world affected us too, which meant delays in opening new branches and delays in the delivery of supplies. That said — our drive-thru in Sidra is an amazing location for us and every year it doubles in volume. It shows the Saudi’s excitement in having a legacy brand like ours opening.

Q: Tell us more about Raising Cane’s story.

A: It was a college dream. I took a business class to develop a business plan for Raising Cane’s and I got the worst grade in the class! My teacher said, “Only chicken strips? You must have more variety”. I took the plan to every bank and got turned down everywhere.

I knew I had to make money to support myself, so I worked as a boilermaker, working turnaround shifts, 90 hours a week, and in commercial fishing in Alaska. I raised my capital for Raising Cane’s by doing that and then went back to reconstruct an old building myself, adding a drive-thru, and opened the first restaurant in 1996.

Q: What are you looking to achieve personally in the coming years?

A: I want to continue to grow in this region more rapidly and look to grow in places other than the Gulf region too. We have spent all these years learning how to do it the right way. We want to open flagship restaurants globally, like opening in Times Square, New York. Our ultimate vision is to be able to serve customers all over the world.

Q: Transparent sustainability practices are becoming more important for food retailers and brands — what is the Raising Cane’s policy here?

A: We have just announced our next phase of growth, which means we are growing the brand globally and as part of that we work on being more sustainable. For example, we are using sustainable packaging in the Middle East market, but we want to do even better with that. We have already implemented initiatives; We are building towards more sustainable packaging and we are also working with our vendors on further sustainability initiatives.


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