Todd Graves Investing $2 Million to Help Independent Restaurants Recover From COVID-19 Closures
Series Will Feature 20 Restaurants throughout US in New Orleans, Las Vegas, Miami, Baton Rouge, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, St. Louis, Atlanta and more
Todd Graves, founder and CEO of Raising Cane’s, one of the fastest growing restaurant companies in the U.S., is combining his passions for entrepreneurship, the restaurant business and philanthropy as the host of a timely new docuseries titled “Restaurant Recovery.” The series is created with producers Kapil Mahendra and Paul Beahan through their Calabasas Films & Media (CFM) banner, and will see Todd travel to cities across the country to help restaurants that have closed or are on the verge of closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Working with restauranteurs in various communities over the course of the next few months, Todd, with his decades long experience building and growing Raising Cane’s, will guide local restaurants to come back even stronger post enforced closures. Capturing the heart of each city, Todd and his team of business experts, financial advisors, marketing team, and strategic food enthusiasts will provide knowledge and resources to a range of diverse restaurants, eateries, distilleries/breweries, bakeries and more have been so important to their local communities.
For the initial 20 episode series run, Graves has committed to helping 20 different restaurants with a $2 million relief and recovery budget ($100k per restaurant).
Said Graves, “I don’t just want to help these restauranteurs come back, I want them to come back stronger. So when the next pandemic, tornado, hurricane or any disaster strikes, they will be ready and equipped to weather the storm.”
Shooting for “Restaurant Recovery” will begin in August and continue for the rest of the year as cities re-open and guidelines are instituted for safe filming and dining activities. The initial schedule includes potential filming in New Orleans, Las Vegas, Miami, Baton Rouge, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, St Louis, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta and more cities based on applications received.
Viewers shouldn’t be surprised to see prominent celebrities and personalities making appearances in some episodes in a show of support for their hometown.
Series executive producers are Doug Weitzbuch (‘World of Dance”) and Adam Saltzberg (“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”).
Entrepreneur and philanthropist Todd Graves knows just how hard it is to start a restaurant. As Founder and CEO of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, Todd has grown his business from a single restaurant in his hometown to more than 500 locations across the US and beyond. Having led his team through numerous disasters including Hurricane Katrina and most recently — the Covid-19 pandemic, he also knows how hard it is to keep a restaurant going and to bring it back after a crisis.
“I want to help people that knew how to be successful in their own business but now need help to overcome these extraordinary circumstances we’re facing,” added Graves. “I know the challenges of keeping a small business going and I want to help these great independent restaurants that have so much soul and really make a community special. These restauranteurs care about their employees and community, and that means a lot to me, and should mean a lot to all of us. In ‘Restaurant Recovery,’ you’ll see an iconic family restaurant that has been around for decades in one episode, and on others it may be a local bakery that is a community’s gathering spot, or a new restaurant that has been the owner’s dream for decades who fell victim to horrible timing upon opening.”
Producer Kapil Mahendra said, “We hope that these incredible actions from Todd will inspire a wave of generosity and support for the great number of restaurants struggling through these times. Working with Todd on this series, it feels like he’s helping family members, and that’s what will make the series such compelling television – the sincerity, spirit, and energy he brings.”
Paul Beahan commented, “If this pandemic has taught us anything it’s how precious and fragile the things that bring us happiness, and bring us together are, so we just think it’s a great idea to do what we can to help the rebuilding effort. We are proud to work alongside Todd in this time of need for restaurants and feel these restaurant recovery missions will both entertain and inspire. Viewers will come away feeling optimistic.”
It began as a college dream — a restaurant that served high quality chicken finger meals and nothing else. From this vision, Todd Graves created a business plan that, ironically, earned the lowest grade in the class. The professor said a restaurant serving only chicken fingers in South Louisiana would never work.
Undaunted, the young entrepreneur presented his business plan to any banker that would see him. Each time, Graves received the same negative response. Knowing he would need to raise his own capital, Graves went to California to work as a boilermaker in an oil refinery and then on to Alaska, where he worked in the dangerous trade of commercial salmon fishing. Upon returning to Baton Rouge, Graves reconstructed an old building himself into the first Raising Cane’s restaurant naming it after his yellow lab…Raising Cane.
Approaching its 25th year in business, Raising Cane’s has grown from a single restaurant outside the North Gates of Louisiana State University to more than 500 restaurants in 28 US states, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. Raising Cane’s ranks as the fastest growing fast food company with over a Billion in in the U.S. with annual revenue exceeding $1.5 Billion.
Graves’s entrepreneurial spirit has been recognized in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Inc. Rolling Stone and USA Today. He’s appeared on MSNBC, FOX’s Your World with Neil Cavuto, FOX & Friends, and CNN. He’s also been featured on episodes of FOX’s Secret Millionaire, Food Network’s Food Court Wars, Animal Planet’s Treehouse Masters and Discovery’s Fast N’ Loud.
Graves ranked #28 in the Top 100 CEOs in the US by Glassdoor. He has been named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and was awarded the SCORE Award for Outstanding Socially Progressive Business.
Graves is passionate about his community and showing appreciation to the people who have made his dream a reality. In the past five years, Graves and Raising Cane’s provided $35 million in support to the communities where Raising Cane’s restaurants operate and in 2020, will add another $13 million of support.
Calabasas Films & Media was formed in 2018 when producers Kapil Mahendra and Paul Beahan joined forces to develop and produce genre films, television and streaming content, and music.
Calabasas native, Kapil Mahendra is a seasoned TV producer, entrepreneur and philanthropist. As a youth, he was a super-star athlete attaining top awards as well as recognition for his passion for philanthropy which ultimately lead him to befriend tennis legend, actor and fellow philanthropist Vijay Amritraj, leading to Mahendra heading Vijay’s foundation which focuses on women’s and children’s causes.
The foundation, with Mahendra at the helm, has hosted televised events with Jerry Seinfeld, The Beach Boys, Alanis Morissette, Matthew Perry and tennis legends Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf and Vijay himself.
Mahendra started Calabasas Films in 2010 and helped create CNN’s “Dimensions” with Vijay and a heavy roster of celebrated guests that included Hugh Hefner, Pierce Brosnan, Martin Luther King III, and Michael Douglas, among others. Calabasas Films also handled productions with The Tennis Channel and Sony Pictures.
Paul Beahan has a rich history as a film, TV and music producer for the last 15 years. Beahan grew up between San Diego and Los Angeles honing skills in the art, fashion and independent music world with the founding of Manimal Group (aka Manimal Vinyl Records) in 2006 after several years working as a freelance fashion editor.
With Manimal, Beahan released debut albums from indie darlings Warpaint and Bat for Lashes and eventually collaborating on exclusive projects involving David Bowie, Yoko Ono, Duran Duran, The Cure, Moby, Carla Bruni and too many more to name. Eventually pivoting from a record label, Manimal began building a music library that expanded to film and television distribution with a focus on the world of streaming content.