Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Alex Frank / Spoon
Culture > News

Battle of the Chicken: Could Cane’s Outshine Guthrie’s?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Since the beginning of fast-food establishments, rivals have been pitted against each other. It’s almost impossible to hear about Dunkin without it being compared to Starbucks or McDonald’s without Chick-Fil-A. The chicken industry in the South is no stranger to this phenomenon. It seems like everyone you meet has strong opinions of their favorite fried chicken locations that serve similar things: Zaxby’s, Raising Cane’s, Bojangles, Popeyes, Guthrie’s, and more.

As a birthday present to me, obviously, Raising Cane’s is opening a Tallahassee location next Thursday, April 13. Raising Cane’s started in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1996, bearing the name of the founder’s yellow labrador. Since then, Cane’s locations have expanded rapidly, quickly becoming a favorite treat in 37 states. Cane’s focuses on only a few menu items that likely contributed to their success, including their special “Cane’s Sauce.” Now, while I’m a chicken finger purist and prefer not dipping them in anything, my boyfriend happens to have very strong feelings about Cane’s sauce. He loves it so much that whenever we go to a location, he gets extra sauce to take home—if that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.

Now, Guthrie’s is very similar to Raising Cane’s, but the first location opened 31 years before Cane’s in 1965, so it’s important to think about who did it first. Both restaurants offer box combos with tenders, fries, Texas Toast, coleslaw and their special sauce, or you can get a chicken sandwich entree. Both menus being the same easily lends these two restaurants to comparison.

Here’s where Tallahassee comes in. Since the location on Tennessee Street opened in 1992, Tallahassee locals see chicken consumption in the city as a test of loyalty, eschewing the bigger chains and corporations that open locations in Tallahassee. Since the news of the new Raising Cane’s Tallahassee location was announced, people have taken to social media to share their thoughts on the newfound controversy. One Instagram commenter says, “Real Tallahassee fans stick with Guthrie’s who has been with us longer and serves the same exact food.” While another says, “Cane’s [is] good but can’t let Guthrie’s die.”

One argument I’ve seen for supporting Guthrie’s instead of the newly built Cane’s is that we should “shop local.” And while I totally agree that it’s great to support small businesses, we must remember that Guthrie’s is also a chain and can’t really be classified as a “local” chicken restaurant. But Guthrie’s definitely is the “smaller guy” compared to Cane’s, says one Instagram commenter. As of March 27 of this year, there are 677 Raising Cane’s locations and only 52 Guthrie’s locations. Also, both Tallahassee locations, Tennessee St. and Monroe St., are owned by Ryan Guthrie and her brother Chase, keeping these locations in the family.

Disregarding the notorious chicken industry politics, I will ultimately eat at the chain whose food I prefer. I think it’s important to stick to taste above anything else when comparing the two. Let’s break it down item by item for the contents of their boxes.

1) Chicken Tenders

I’m going to go with Cane’s on this one. In my experience, Cane’s chicken is wayyyy more tender and moist, while Guthrie’s chicken has been pretty dry. But it’s possible I just caught them on bad days, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. There’s also a great crunch on the tenders at Guthrie’s that Cane’s chicken just doesn’t live up to.

2) French Fries

I’m going to be honest; I like my fries a little differently from many people. I like soft, not crunchy, fries with no seasoning other than salt. So, while I prefer Cane’s fries, I’ll admit Guthrie’s would be great for the right person.

3) Texas Toast

I prefer Cane’s for this one too. The toast is incredibly soft and buttery with a little garlic flavor, whereas Guthrie’s toast is great as toast goes, but the garlic and texture really elevate Cane’s Texas Toast.

Based on my experiences, I prefer Raising Cane’s overall, but I must admit that I do love a late-night Guthrie’s run. I think it’s also important to remember that for any chain, each establishment probably varies depending on management, location, employees, etc. So while I typically like Cane’s food better, it depends on all those factors to determine the location’s success. And clearly, Guthrie’s is doing something right if their late-night drive-thru line goes out into Tennessee Street every night! Plus, there is something to be said for the fact that Guthrie’s has been around for nearly 60 years, which is pretty impressive.

Similarly, in a town with such a large nightlife, Guthrie’s being open until 4 a.m. poses an interesting advantage, while Cane’s locations typically only stay open until about 12 a.m. Hopefully, this location will understand its audience and stays open until later, but we’ll see.

Ultimately, everyone has their own opinions, and I think it’ll be interesting to see the potential success of Raising Cane’s in this new location. I’d love to hear what everyone thinks once they try out both.

Want to see more HCFSU? Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and Pinterest!

Hey, I'm Chloe and I'm a senior at Florida State! I'm a staff writer at HerCampus FSU and a fun fact about me is that I'm also a certified lifeguard! I love hammocking and reading outside and I'm always down to go for a swim!