On the opening day of Raising Cane’s, Madison’s new chicken fingers restaurant located on 579 State Street, the “line [was] out the door around the corner and all the way down to Wando’s,” said restaurant leader Michael Enemuoh.
“And it was like that for hours; I had never seen anything like it,” Enemuoh continued. “And you know, with everything that had happened on State Street in 2020, it was really nice to kind of see everybody come back and build-up, and show out for not just Raising Cane’s, but for Madison.”
By the time they closed their doors at midnight of June 8th, Madison’s Raising Cane’s had broken the record for the most revenue made on an opening day for the chain’s non-traditional restaurants, locations that do not have a drive-thru.
From 10 am to 8 pm on their first day, 20 customers got a chance to win free Cane’s for a year. In addition, the first 100 customers were awarded a free T-shirt and a free box-combo meal.
The Cane’s menu is simple: Chicken fingers, toast, fries, and coleslaw.
“We don’t like to call it small or simple, we like to call it focused,” Enemuoh said.
According to David Grandell, the area leader of marketing for Raising Cane’s, Cane’s was a perfect fit for Madison due to its high density of young people and its proximity to the university, a plethora of what Grandell called, Cane’s “core demographic”.
“What I’ve learned while doing openings is we get a lot of high school kids and college kids, and I’m when I’m talking with, you know, customers that come through, it’s always traditionally parents or older clientele and I was like, ‘You know what brought you in today?’ and it was like, ‘Oh, my kid told me to come’ or ‘you know my grandsons told me to come,’ They just absolutely love us and want to see what all the hype was about.
“It’s high school and college youth who really just gravitate towards the brand and really our brand ambassadors like out in the community,” he adds.
And Raising Cane’s was not only a perfect fit for Madison, but for Enemuoh, as well, who has spent his entire career in food service.
“I was a [Pizza Hut] driver for six years and then I became a manager when I graduated from college, and within the first three months, I was already an assistant manager. Within the first nine months, I was already an operations manager, and then I was writing my own location, as a general manager within the first year,” Enemuoh said. “And then I became a supervisor about a year after that.”
Part of the Madson Cane’s initiative is, as with every Cane’s location, to create partnerships with the surrounding city’s organizations and institutions.
“With Raising Cane’s, we spend a lot of energy, time, effort, money to make great partnerships,” Grandell said. “We have [a partnership] with the University [of Wisconsin-Madison] already, with apartment complexes. We’re actually going to be at the Maxwell Days,” Grandell said. “Raising Cane’s really prides itself on being true partners, we don’t just say, ‘Hey, here’s money and do stuff,’ we try to work with each other and really find the needs and really try to figure out the execution of those needs.”
“I’ve worked in a lot of the surrounding areas, so I have a lot of connections that I have made and I told them, ‘Hey, I’m going to be going into Cane’s’ and they ask, ‘What’s Cane’s’? And I tell them all about it and they’re really excited,” Enemuoh added. “So once David allows me to handle some of the marketing, I’m definitely going to be getting out into the community a little bit more, trying to get to the schools, the churches and try to get into the community a little bit more on behalf of Raising Cane’s.”
Raising Cane’s is located at 579 State St in downtown Madison. Raising Cane’s Madison is currently hiring employees for its location. Those interested can apply online.