New restaurant’s marketing plan: Get customers to take a bite |

New restaurant’s marketing plan: Get customers to take a bite

John Seelmeyer

Raising Cane’s can do all the traditional marketing it wants to support its first store opening in Reno, but Justin Micatrotto knows the franchised restaurant needs to stand quickly on the reputation of its food.

The answer: Get the food out as many ways as possible, paying particularly close attention to partnerships with schools, says Micatrotto, the chief marketing officer of MRG Marketing & Management.

The Las Vegas company, which holds the Raising Cane’s franchise for Nevada and Arizona, expects to open a location at South Virginia and Neil Road — that’s in front of Whole Foods — on Jan. 17.

The location is the 11th for MRG Marketing, which operates six franchised stores in Las Vegas and five in the Phoenix area. The parent company headquartered in Baton Rouge, La., has more than 180 locations in 17 states.

But the Reno location is different from most Raining Cane’s locations, which commonly are close to college campuses or other schools.

Micatrotto says the south-Reno location brings a different sort of appeal: It’s close to major employment centers such as the NV Energy, Microsoft Licensing and Intuit buildings to the east and the Kietzke Lane office buildings to the west.

To acquaint office workers with Raising Cane’s menu — chicken fingers with sauces, fries and cole slaw, mostly — MRG Marketing expects to send staffers door to door through office buildings to deliver samples.

The 439 miles between the Reno restaurant and the nearest Las Vegas location of Raising Canes Chicken Fingers also puts fresh demands on MRG Marketing’s supply system.

The restaurant uses entirely fresh ingredients — no frozen chicken, for instance — and Micatrotto says the franchise owner turns over all of its food inventory within 48 hours of its arrival. That means that supply chains need to be highly reliable, even when winter storms snarl transportation between Reno and chicken suppliers in the Southeast.

The restaurant will employ about 50.

John Anderson Construction Inc. is the general contractor on remodeling of the location, which previously housed a Wendy’s restaurant.