Bring on the chicken! Raising Cane’s, Chick-Fil-A make their mark on Maui

The new fast food chains have opened up hundreds of jobs for local workers.
Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 6:31 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 30, 2022 at 6:59 PM HST
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KAHULUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The long-awaited Raising Cane’s is now open on Hookele Street in Kahului.

First in line was Frank Barbosa of Kihei, who danced his way to the counter when doors opened at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. It’s his first time trying the world-famous chicken fingers.

“Yeah! Tender, soft, crunchy, good texture, not oily,” Barbosa said after his first bite.

He waited in line for 23 hours for that bite.

“I don’t travel. How am I going to try it? Slowly but surely, they’re coming to Hawaii, and that’s the fun part. They’re exposing themselves and they’re bringing it to Maui,” said Barbosa. “It’s going to boost our economy out here. So, it’s a plus. It’s a plus for everybody.”

Raising Canes hired 110 local employees and gave 20 lucky customers free Cane’s for a year in a random drawing. They also donated $7,500 to three local non-profit organizations — Kahului Boys and Girls Club, Hawaii Animal Rescue Foundation and Hawaii All Star Cheerleading Rainbow Fund.

“We’re giving back to the community, and they see that, and that’s such an important thing to us,” said Raising Cane’s Marketing Leader Ali Urbick. “This is what we’re here for. We’re here to serve chicken, but we’re also here to be part of the community.”

Less than half a mile down the road, another popular fast-food chain also famous for its chicken is gearing up to open in two days.

“I’m so excited to serve the community,” said Chick-Fil-A Kahului owner and operator Sean Whaley.

The state’s first Chick-Fil-A has hired 160 full and part time local employees.

“It’s not a big secret, you love people. You love them and care for them,” Whaley said. “That’s the Hawaiian culture. That’s southern hospitality service.”

Located at 14 Hookele Street in Kahului, Chick-Fil-A will open its doors at 6 a.m. on Thursday.

In the meantime, two Oahu locations are scheduled to open later this year.