Craig Joy doesn’t mind rolling up his sleeves to work alongside his employees. As a Florida-based multi-unit franchisee for Checkers & Rally’s, Joy has always taken a people-driven approach to running his business, and, as a result, maintains a very high retention rate for his employees.
His franchisor admires his personable and charismatic work ethic, too.
“Crew members look to him as an inspirational leader. He gives them an opportunity to grow more than the average fast-food job. He cares about his people and really gives them an opportunity to grow professionally,” said Jennifer Durham, Checkers’ chief development officer. “Joy encapsulates what the Checkers culture is all about.”
Joy has been with Checkers for nearly 30 years. Today, he runs six locations, and although he’s weathered the slumps and the triumphs that any business experiences, he hasn’t lost an ounce of his characteristic charm. His genuine love for the brand trickles down to each of his employees, too, and he’s even inspired his staff to follow his lead and get into owning a Checkers for themselves. Gail Gingery, who started as a general manager for one of Joy’s locations, is now set to become a franchisee. And she credits Joy for the motivation she needed to push her forward.
This kind of support and collaboration at Checkers isn’t unique to just Joy and Gingery. In fact, the brand’s people-first attitude has led to them coining the phrase “Checkers Franchise Family,” and it’s a sentiment that runs deep throughout the entire system.
“Franchisees continue to flock to the Checkers system thanks to our magnetic culture. From the executive level to the franchisees to the employees, everyone truly treats each other like family. ” Durham said. “From industry newcomers to franchise veterans, people recognize the unique opportunity to grow with our brand, and appreciate our focus on franchisee and franchisor alignment. We like to think that our positive energy here is infectious.”
Checkers’ captivating culture has helped the brand rank as one of the top multi-unit restaurant concepts in franchisee satisfaction. Durham believes their high approval ratings by operators is due, in part, to the company owning restaurants alongside its franchisees, meaning it has even more reason to focus on costs, margins, profitability, promotions and overall employee satisfaction. That emphasis has paid off—according to Franchise Business Review’s satisfaction survey completed in 2014, nearly 85 percent of current franchisees are planning to grow with the brand.
“We believe that in order to be a good franchisor, you have to put yourself in the shoes of your franchisees. Not figuratively—literally. We build restaurants and we run restaurants and our franchisees know that we’re right there with them,” Durham said.
It’s this unique insight into what franchisees want and need that has helped Checkers open up 37 new restaurants last year, breaking a 15-year-old record for new development. They know how to collaborate alongside their operators. This has ultimately created Checkers’ secret weapon, and it’s helping them continue to thrive in the years to come—and that weapon is happy and passionate franchisees.
Startup costs for new franchisees include a $30,000 franchise fee per restaurant. The overall average initial investment is $416,197.
“People will always be at the forefront of our business. We have this brand that people want to be a part of, because we’re here helping them thrive every step of the way. It makes them want to put in 110 percent—and when they do put in that extra effort, it becomes infectious. Employees notice. Customers notice. And in the end, it’s increasing the brand’s bottom line,” Durham said.To learn more about Checkers & Rally’s, click here.