Updated: September 30, 2022
Starting next week, chicken fans will merely cross the road for two of the nation’s popular poultry restaurants.
Both located off Ho’okele Street in Kahului, Maui’s first Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers is opening Tuesday, Aug. 30, and Hawai’i’s first Chick-fil-A is launching Thursday, Sept. 1, according to recent company announcements.
Some residents said they are planning to camp out ahead of the openings, and Raising Cane’s told Maui Now that it is prepared for customers lining up early.
Located at 176 Ho’okele St. in front of Lowe’s Home Improvement, Raising Cane’s will be open for drive-thru, dine-in and takeout service from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. The restaurant is approximately 3,000 square feet, with an additional 1,500-square-foot lanai dining area. It is the the eighth Raising Cane’s in Hawai’i.
Grand opening events Tuesday include an 8 a.m. drawing to award 20 customers who are 13 and older with free Cane’s for a year. Entries will be accepted from 8 to 9 a.m. and winners will be announced between 9:05 and 10 a.m. People must be present to win, a news release said. At 9 a.m., traditional Hawaiian blessing, history of Raising Cane’s and official ribbon-cutting will begin. Doors open to the public at 10 a.m.
The first 100 dine-in customers ages 13 and older to purchase a combo meal will receive a free limited-edition Cane’s T-shirt, along with a voucher for a free box combo – containing four hand-battered chicken fingers, Texas toast, secret recipe Cane’s sauce, coleslaw, crinkle-cut fries and a drink – that may be redeemed on a subsequent visit.
Raising Cane’s in Kahului has 110 crew members. The new restaurant will present three checks in the amount of $2,500 each to Maui High School, Kahului Boys and Girls Club and the Hawaii Animal Foundation as part of the grand opening celebration.
“We are thrilled to bring Caniacs on the Valley Isle a Raising Cane’s to call their own,” general manager Madelyn Delecruz said in a news release. “We’ve assembled an amazing crew and the new restaurant is in a great location, right next to the Lowe’s in Kahului. We are excited to become a meeting spot for the community and contribute by supporting our local schools and other organizations with sponsorships, fundraisers and the best chicken fingers.”
Down the road at 14 Ho‘okele St., Chick-fil-A Kahului will be open for dine-in, drive-thru and carry-out service from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It marks the first Chick-fil-A in the Aloha State, and the company plans to expand throughout Hawai’i in the next several years.
Chick-fil-A’s newly constructed restaurant is 5,013 square feet with a 900-square-foot patio. Indoor seating has a capacity of 114 seats and outdoors holds 46 additional spots.
While no opening events were listed for Sept. 1, a news release said Chick-fil-A Inc. has donated $25,000 to Maui Food Bank on behalf of the new restaurant, and Chick-fil-A Kahului is recognizing “100 local heroes making an impact in the area” by providing them with free Chick-fil-A meals for a year.
Chick-fil-A team members will greet drive-thru customers in person to take orders via tablet. As the order-taker walks the line, another restaurant team member will come to the customer’s car to take payment, allowing vehicles to move through more quickly than they do at a traditional speaker box drive-thru, a news release said. Also, guests may place an order for drive-thru pick-up on the Chick-fil-A app.
Independent franchised owner/operator Sean Whaley will be responsible for all day-to-day activities of the business, including employing approximately 160 full- and part-time team members, the news release said. Whaley lives on Maui with his wife, Danielle, and three children.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to open the first Chick-fil-A restaurant in Hawai‘i and to share our signature hospitality and great-tasting food with guests in Kahului,” Whaley said in the announcement. “Working in the restaurant industry and playing competitive sports like rugby have given me the experience and tools to create a dedicated, service-minded team. By cultivating each individual’s skills and talents, we will build a strong ‘ohana of team members that will thrive both inside and outside of the restaurant.”
Whaley’s Kahului restaurant will be participating in Chick-fil-A’s “Share a Table Program,” an initiative that redirects surplus food from the restaurant to local soup kitchens, shelters, food banks and nonprofits. When there is surplus food, Chick-fil-A Kahului will donate it to a local community partner.
Chick-fil-A and Raising Cane’s are among five new restaurant chains that have opened or plan on opening along Ho’okele Street in Kahului. Residents have mixed feelings about the additions and have voiced strong opinions on social media and elsewhere.