A rendering of a Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers location — Courtesy: R.J. Brunelli & Co.
By Joshua Burd
A fast-growing restaurant chain specializing in chicken fingers is seeking locations in New Jersey and New York, having tapped R.J. Brunelli & Co. as its agent in the market.
According to the brokerage firm, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers has 547 stores in 29 states and four foreign countries, but has yet to break into the Northeast other than a single location in Massachusetts. The R.J. Brunelli team is now representing the Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based chain in its search for sites in northern and central New Jersey and Staten Island, New York.
The team includes R.J. Brunelli President Danielle Brunelli, CEO Ron DeLuca and Vice President Mario Brunelli, all principals with the Old Bridge-based firm, along with Senior Sales Associate Pete Nicholson.
“We are thrilled to be a part of this important, community-minded brand’s expansion into New Jersey and New York,” Danielle Brunelli said. “Our account team is seeking freestanding locations for company-owned restaurants at prime intersections along every major corridor in central and northern New Jersey and Staten Island. Plans call for eight locations annually in our central and northern New Jersey markets alone.”
In a news release, the brokers said Raising Cane’s specifications for the New York metropolitan market call for sites of one acre or more to accommodate a building of 3,500 to 4,000 square feet, with a double drive-thru and parking for 30 to 40 or more cars. Site preferences include high-visibility corner locations with signalized access on roads with a daily traffic count of at least 35,000.
Locations should be close to universities, schools, major retail centers, office parks, major medical facilities or high-density residential areas — all primed for daytime and nighttime dining, the news release said. The chain, founded in 1996 by entrepreneur Todd Graves, appeals to a broad demographic with a limited menu offering white meat chicken fingers, chicken finger sandwiches, fries, coleslaw, Texas toast and tailgate trays.
R.J. Brunelli noted that Graves presented his initial business plan for the concept in a business course, where he earned the lowest grade in the class, and was subsequently rebuffed by would-be investors. He brought the concept to life by working as a boilermaker in California and a sockeye salmon fisherman in Alaska to earn money to open the first location in Baton Rouge, renovating the building himself and opening in 1996.
Graves has since earned a long list of business and restaurant industry accolades while growing the chain to more than 500 locations.
“The company’s commitment to its employees and communities was personified during the current pandemic,” Danielle Brunelli said. “They didn’t let go of one person during COVID and instead gave back to their communities, helping people get through the pandemic.”