Raising Cane’s plans to open 80 restaurants in 2018 across the U.S. and Middle East, the company announced as it wrapped up a three-day corporate conference Wednesday at the Raising Cane’s River Center.

The event brought more than 800 operators and employees to Baton Rouge for planning, goal setting and honoring top operators at the chicken tender chain.

Cane’s now has more than 360 locations in 23 states, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. The company is set to open its first New Mexico restaurant soon in Las Cruces. Locations in Alaska and Hawaii are in the pipeline. The company is on target to hit its goal of 600 restaurants worldwide by 2020, with 35,000 employees and $1.5 billion in annual sales.

Todd Graves, Cane’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said he wanted to hold the event in Baton Rouge because the city is special to him and the company. “I want you to have a connection to Raising Cane’s hometown,” he said. The conference also included a visit to “The Mothership," the Cane’s location at Highland Road and State Street, outside the North Gates of LSU.

Cane’s said the event cost $1.2 million and it used all Louisiana vendors.

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