Wednesday, May 18, 2011


“Cultures grow on the vines of tradition.” – Jonah Goldberg

A couple of classes at our school took a field trip to Raising Cane’s Chicken last week. Cane’s had offered to feed the two classes who raised the most money for “Cooking in Central,” a local event that raises money for the community.

Raising Cane’s Chicken is one of the very popular eating establishments in Baton Rouge. They serve chicken fingers, fries, coleslaw, and that’s about it. The kids enjoyed the food, and the manager spoke to our students before we went back to Tanglewood. What he said made me think about traditions.

You can read the story of Todd Graves who started Raising Cane’s here. It’s a pretty amazing story, but I was fascinated by the traditions that Cane’s has in place. For example, the ceiling in each Cane’s is similar – based on the ceilings in oil refineries where Graves worked to raise money to begin his venture.

Another tradition dates back to the first Cane’s. When Graves opened the original Cane’s, they had an empty space above the cash register and didn’t know what to do with the space. Graves just so happened to possess a disco ball. So…they put the disco ball in that spot. Now, every Cane’s restaurant has a disco ball hanging from the ceiling.

Below are more of Cane’s traditions: 
  • On an employee’s one-year anniversary, they receive a hard-hat similar to the hard-hats Graves wore when he worked in the oil refineries.
  • Each Cane’s restaurant has an Elvis figure. This tradition, again, dates back to the first Cane’s restaurant.
  • One of the first pictures of Graves in the original Cane’s accidentally caught him pointing to something off to his left and looking in that direction. So, anytime group pictures are taken at Cane’s, they first take a serious picture and then take one with everyone pointing with their left hand and looking in that direction. 
The point is that Raising Cane’s Chicken has built a culture based on tradition. Cane’s definitely has a tribe of followers and is hugely successful.
    Traditions are important. They are a rallying point and serve to unite varied individuals in a cause. Does your organization create and embrace traditions?

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