We ate at dozens of fast-food chains in 2017 - here's the best
- Raising Cane's is Business Insider's top restaurant chain of 2017.
- The chain is one of the fastest-growing in the US.
- It was also one of the culinary highlights of our taste-testers' year.
In a year packed with fast food, one chain rose above the rest.
But, of all the chains I ate at, one rose above the rest: Raising Cane's.
Raising Cane's is a chicken-finger chain known for its Texas toast and simple menu. In 2016, it was the fastest growing chain in the US, increasing sales by a whopping 25.9%.
With only 310 locations, the chain is still small compared with the competition. But, it's growing rapidly, opening 59 new restaurants in the past year.
I visited Raising Cane's for the first time ever this year, and I saw why the chain was having such remarkable success.
It has a remarkably simple menu - just four options, plus a kid's combo. Basically, customers only have to pick how many chicken fingers they want, and whether they want them sandwiched between bread or not.
However, by focusing exclusively on chicken fingers, Raising Cane's is able to perfect the form in a way few competitors can even dream of. They're crispy yet light, perfectly juicy, and tender.
I was also taken by the Texas toast - the perfectly crisp, warm buttery carb of my dreams.
At the time, Hollis Johnson and I reviewed the chain by saying: "The quality of Raising Cane's chicken fingers raises the bar for all chicken chains. As the up-and-coming chain continues to advance, rivals like KFC and Chick-fil-A should be scared."
In the months filled with mediocre fried chicken since, I've only become more convinced of that fact. Raising Cane's was a culinary standout in 2017 - and, with its rapid expansion and strategically simplistic menu, it's in a prime position for business to explode in years to come.
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