Many franchises like to throw the word “growth” around, but few can actually produce the hard numbers to back it up—Checkers & Rally’s is one of those few. For 30 years and counting, the iconic brand’s proven track record for success has helped carry it to national dominance. 2015 was no different—Checkers & Rally’s opened 37 new restaurants. Today, the brand boasts more than 800 restaurants throughout the country, and while plenty of companies might take a moment to coast on its accomplishments, Checkers & Rally’s is just getting started.
In the first eight months of 2016, the brand inked deals with 45 new franchisees to date in addition to 42 new franchisees in 2015. The new franchisees are approved for 200 new sites on top of the already 139 approved sites in the restaurant pipeline. This pipeline represents a significant 40 percent growth of the Checkers & Rally’s franchise system. Additionally, Checkers & Rally’s is celebrating its fifth consecutive year of same-store sales growth system wide —an achievement that has consistently beat out the average for the hamburger quick-service restaurant category.
“With hundreds of locations available in new and major markets across the United States, there are countless opportunities for our brand to continue this momentum. Checkers & Rally’s is primed for significant expansion, but our number one objective remains restaurant and franchisee profitability,” said Jennifer Durham, Chief Development Officer for Checkers & Rally’s. “The time is right to make our brand bigger and better in the years to come. Our ‘Fast Foodie’ guests love our craveable, bold flavors, and we’re intent on developing locations that are more convenient than ever before.”
In early 2016, Checkers & Rally’s promoted Adam Noyes to Chief Administrative Officer with greater focus on systems innovation and technology. The brand also created a new role, Vice President of Franchise Operations, and promoted longtime leader Marc Mediate to this post.
“We realized that in order to continue to propel the growth of our two great brands, we needed to make sure we had the right resources in place to help us focus on profitability, while simultaneously developing the innovations that will fuel our sales and profit growth in the future,” said Rick Silva, President & CEO of Checkers & Rally’s. “These are exciting times, and we’re looking forward to working with this expanded leadership team to deliver exciting innovation and increased profitability to the system in the years ahead.”
In addition to the corporate support team, updating the brand’s image and remodeling locations to maximize franchisee profitability have also been a source of success in 2016. One recent example is the remodel of a Rally’s location in Adrian, Michigan, by longtime franchisees Phil and Sharon Servoss. The store opened in 2002, and was remodeled late in 2015 with new signing, exterior tiles and exterior seating. Since the facelift, the store has seen a 20 percent increase in sales.
Another source of growth for Checkers & Rally’s is product and promotional innovation. In 2016, the brand launched its “Fast Foodies Know the Deal” advertising campaign. The campaign is geared toward discerning guests who are passionate and outspoken about their love for fast food and in particular the big, bold flavors of Checkers & Rally’s. In February, when Burger King announced its hot dog launch at $1.99, Checkers & Rally’s decided to smack down Burger King’s overpriced, late-to-the game idea. After officially declaring a “Wiener War,” Checkers & Rally’s threw down the gauntlet by offering its hot dogs at just $0.79 to remind the world that the brand had been cooking up hand-grilled dogs made with 100 percent beef for more than 30 years. As the frontrunner in the Wiener War, Checkers & Rally’s ignited the battle with a full-page advertisement in USA Today and enjoyed a 200 percent increase in hot dog sales compared to the previous week.
The company also recently added smoothies and Kool-Aid® Slushies to the menu in 2016, both created to appeal to the evolving tastes of the Millennial demographic and to fit into the brand’s “portable and poppable” snack offerings. The smoothies come in orange cream, mango and strawberry flavors and the Kool-Aid Slushies are blended with ice, Sprite and the classic flavors of Kool-Aid, Tropical Punch and Blue Raspberry. And true to form, Checkers & Rally’s locations will offer these indulgent products at an incredible value. Most recently, the system is running a new limited-time offer of 4 items for $3 which goes head to head with Wendy’s 4 for $4 promotion and offers guests who “know the deal” an even better value. It’s this dedication to creative, bold flavor at an unbelievable value that has long put Checkers & Rally’s a cut above the quick-service restaurant competition.
Now, as Checkers & Rally’s continues to build on its current momentum throughout the rest of 2016, the goal is to spur even more growth by adding additional franchisees to its ever-expanding family. After being named one of QSR Magazine’s Top 10 Franchise Deals and a Top Food and Beverage Franchise by the Franchise Business Review, the brand’s philosophy of owning and operating restaurants alongside its franchisees makes Checkers & Rally’s a desirable and rewarding choice for many hopeful business owners. And with more than 3,500 locations available in new and existing markets across the U.S., plenty of opportunities remain for forward-thinking entrepreneurs to find out what current franchisees already know—the magnetic culture and exciting growth potential at Checkers & Rally’s has given the brand a head start in outpacing the competition.
“At Checkers & Rally’s, we’re focused on a continued effort to always improve—to always be a better version of ourselves. The impact of this dedication is seen in our numbers, as more and more franchisees are lining up to join our great brands,” Durham said. “Watch out, we’re just getting started!”