“Talking with SCORE mentors helped build my confidence. They were supportive and believed in my idea."
-Todd Graves, Owner of Raising Cane's.
Todd Graves celebrated the 100th location of his Raising Cane's restaurant chain. When he started his business in 1996, he contacted SCORE for financial and marketing advice. Now one of the food and beverage industry's fastest growing companies, Raising Cane's has become a fast food sensation, due in large part to a menu built around Todd's famous fresh chicken fingers.
Raising Cane's, which now operates 100 restaurants in 14 states, was honored with a 2010 SCORE Award for Outstanding Socially Progressive Small Business for its business success and community support.
Helping the community is an important element to the Raising Cane's philosophy. In 2009, the company gave more than $1 million to the communities that house its restaurants.
Raising Cane's is the recipient of the 2010 SCORE Award for Outstanding Socially-progressive Small Business.
Todd says his mentors’ insights are still valuable, particularly the importance of thorough planning and constantly staying atop all aspects of the business. “It may take you longer to plan ahead, but you’ll be more efficient in the end when you’re likely to be extremely busy,” he says, adding that any aspiring entrepreneur can benefit from working with an experienced SCORE mentor.
“They’re committed to help you be successful, because they understand the value a small business brings to a community,” Todd says. “But they also help you understand what it takes to be a successful business owner. If you’re willing to commit yourself to starting a business, they’ll provide all the encouragement and assistance you need.”
"And unlike all the banks that said no," he adds, "SCORE mentors ere supportive and believed in my idea as much as I did." Realizing that he'd have to raise his own capital, Graves spent a year on a job odyssey that included oil refinery boilermaker and commercial salmon fisherman. Returning to Baton Rouge, he resumed his networking and was soon able to pool his savings with those of investors who were impressed with both his vision and his commitment.