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  • Writer's pictureDarrell Stetler II

What I Learned from Raising Cane’s

A few months ago, a new chicken place came into our neighborhood.  It was named Raising Cane’s.  Liz and I decided to try it.

In short, we loved it.  It hasn’t replaced Chick-Fil-A, but they are really good at what they do.  And I’m not the only one.  Raising Cane’s was the 4th fastest growing restaurant chain in America in 2015.

I was there some time back for lunch, and got to thinking about what they do right, and why I enjoy it.  I started mulling it over.  Here’s what I learned:

1. Keep it simple.

Cane’s philosophy is clear from the moment you walk in.  “One Love” is their motto.  The One lLve is fresh (never, ever frozen) chicken strips.  They only do one thing.

They don’t do burgers.  They don’t do salads.  They don’t do anything but chicken strips.  Here’s their menu:


Contrast that with McDonald’s menu, which wraps all the way around the front of the restaurant!

What about you?  Do you feel like you have to offer a little bit of everything?  If you’re a church of under 100, it might not be time to offer men’s ministry, choir, ladies night, daycare, and nursing home service.  Maybe it’s time to simplify.

Sometimes, you have to do less to get more impact.   It’s possible to spread yourself so thin that you’re more like a shotgun than a rifle.  A shotgun hits more stuff, but doesn’t hit anything very hard.  If you want more impact, you have to hit one thing, and hit it hard.

2. Make it good.

Their chicken is some of the best I’ve had.  It’s tender & juicy.  They only do one thing, but they rock at it.

Credit: Raising Cane's website

Credit: Raising Cane’s website

What about your church?  If you’re only going to offer a few things — a worship service, kids ministry, and a midweek — shouldn’t they be QUALITY?  S.D. Herron used to say “Holy shoddy is still shoddy.”  He’s right.

Bill Hybels says, “Excellence honors God and inspires people.”  Make it GOOD!

  1. Do the best music you can.

  2. Prepare the best sermon you can.

  3. Pray heaven and earth together.

  4. Make your announcements quality.

3. Make it happy.

Cane’s has done a great job of creating a culture where their people act happy to be there.  It’s a nice contrast in the fast food world, where the average employee looks like they’d rather be having a root canal.

Are your people happy?  Is there a lot of laughter in your church?  Or do your members, your most “spiritually mature” people have a “get off my lawn” mentality?  Are you overflowing with joy in Jesus?  Or are you mainly angry about how the culture is “going down the tubes?”

Every time you stand before your people, even in dark moments, be positive.  Make them believe that it truly is great to be a Christian, and everything is going to be OK.

4. Know your secret sauce.

If you ever eat at Cane’s, you know.  It’s all about the sauce — that creamy, spicy goodness that you can’t get anywhere else.  (I always ask for an extra one.)

Your church has SOMETHING you do that no one else can.  Bigger churches cannot.  TV cannot.  Amusement parks cannot.

Recognize what that “secret sauce” is.  For our church, it’s a combination of authenticity, a servant’s heart, & a passion for Jesus.  What ingredients does your “secret sauce” contain?  Figure it out, then mix up a big batch.  Serve it out liberally.

What are you waiting for?  Go fry some chicken & mix some sauce.

What’s your secret sauce?  Put it in a comment below, or join the conversation on my Facebook page.

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