Chick-fil-A vs. Raising Cane’s–The Better Chicken

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A comparison between the two most popular chicken-themed fast-food establishments in Yorba Linda.

Madison Austin, Editor

Humans have an inherent tendency to compare. Whenever there are two remotely similar items, it’s natural to want to put them next to each other and analyze their similarities and differences. Those two items can be as similar as different colors of the same shirt or as different as different snacks on a warm, summer afternoon. Either way, once two objects are presented in a similar fashion, a list of their pros and cons in comparison to each other quickly comes to mind.

In this case, fried chicken is up for debate. Now, the concept of fast-food fried chicken is as old as the concept of fast-food itself. In fact, when McDonald’s opened their first location in 1955, the classic fried Chicken McNugget was a best-seller on the menu. Since then, almost every fast food chain has come out with a variation of the nugget somewhere on the menu. Carl’s Jr. features small fried chicken nuggets in a star-shaped for their brand-specific rendition. Jack-in-the-Box includes classic fried chicken nuggets on their menu, a rather popular selection among the fast-food chicken nugget tier list. Burger King tried to take their own spin on the classic dish, creating long, string-like nuggets called “Chicken fries.”

All of these restaurants have one thing in common, however. They are all fast food establishments that have specific specializations apart from chicken. McDonald’s is more acclaimed for its burgers and fries than its nuggets. Carl’s Jr. receives more buzz for their Western Bacon Cheeseburger than their chicken stars. Burger King is more well-known for its titular dish, burgers.

For a long while, the only way of purchasing those much-desired nuggets was through the purchase of such at the bottom of the menu at one of those fast food restaurants. Then, after increasing popularity in the world of fried chicken, chicken-specialty fast food restaurants began appearing all over the world. KFC was founded in 1954, and they specialized in their classic southern fried chicken dishes. Popeyes was founded in 1972, popularizing small, popcorn-style chicken nuggets. Wingstop’s first franchise opened up in 1994, offering both bone-in and boneless fried chicken options (tasteofhome.com).

Despite the popularity of all of these chicken-themed fast-food restaurants, there are two that stand out, maintaining the status of the top two most popular chicken places in Yorba Linda, if not the whole nation. Although it had an early founding in 1954, Chick-fil-A did not gain prominence until the 1980s, and since then, its success has been an upward stretch. Since then, Chick-fil-A maintained a strong leader in the world of fried chicken places. Alexandra Herrada (12) recalls loving Chick-fil-A for as long as she can remember, citing that Chick-fil-A is “always reliable to grab a crunchy, tender, and flavorful chicken nugget.”

Furthermore, Chick-fil-A offers a variety of delicious sauces that accompany their nuggets. Despite the wide diversity in sauce options, such as Polynesian, Ranch, Buffalo, and Barbeque flavors, their house sauce, known as Chick-fil-A sauce, is the most popular. A sweet and tangy yellow sauce, most customers enjoy their fried chicken with that particular accompaniment. 

Paired beautifully with their multiple cause options, Chick-fil-A also sells large, crispy waffle-styled french fries. A couple of inches in diameter and length, these large fries are perfectly salted, perfectly shaped, and perfectly heated every time. The large fries eaten with the nuggets are a commonly ordered combination, and mixed together, they constitute one of many people’s favorite dishes.

Then in 1994, competition rounded the corner with the creation of Raising Cane’s. Originally a small hole-in-the-wall establishment in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, its chicken spoke for itself, and Raising Cane’s spread like wildfire throughout the United States with a variety of locations popping up in all corners of the country. 

Their fried chicken can be best described in a single word–crispy. Rather than small nuggets, they sell longer chicken strips, complete with a flaky breading that is fried to perfection covering the soft and fresh chicken. Ryan Oh (12) is an unequivocal fan of Raising Cane’s, commenting that “there’s nothing better than grabbing some chicken from Raising Cane’s after a football game or just because.”

There’s nothing better than grabbing some chicken from Raising Cane’s after a football game or just because.”

— Ryan Oh (12)

Rather than including a large selection of sauces like Chick-fil-A, Raising Cane’s only has one sauce on its menu, creatively dubbed Raising Cane’s Sauce. Unlike Chick-fil-A’s sauce, this sauce is peppery and savory, maintaining a creamy orange color and an undistinguishable taste. Their sauce is equally as popular as the chicken, as many people claim that the chicken and fries are merely a vehicle to transport the sauce to one’s mouth.

Their fries are oddly constructed, yet undeniably delicious. About 3 inches in length and a quarter inch in diameter, their fries are in the crinkle-cut style with small ridges along the entire fry. While most french fries are created in strive for crunchy and crispy perfection, Raising Cane’s fries are often soft and limp. Although that style is completely uncommon, its appeal is found within its rarity, as Raising Cane’s received much acclaim for their fries.

With two opposite yet similar chicken-centered fast food establishments, it is seemingly impossible to compare them. Chick-fil-A offers an experience filled with crunchy nuggets, diverse sauce options, and crispy waffle fries. At the same time, Raising Cane’s offers flaky strips, a unique sauce, and soft crinkle-cut fries. While both are undoubtedly delicious, there can only be one winner, and the decider of that decision lies within the beholder.

Which chicken-themed fast-food establishment is better, Chick-fil-A or Raising Cane's?

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