Checkers & Rally’s Restaurants, Inc. (Checkers®), the largest double drive-thru chain in the United States, continues to attract experienced and business-savvy entrepreneurs eager to grow with the innovative brand. The latest member to join the growing team is Nick Panjwani, who has owned and operated more than seven franchises including Pizza Inn, Pizza Hut Express, Long John Silvers, KFC Restaurant and now Checkers. Panjwani is the first franchisee to open a Checkers restaurant in Houston, and plans to open three locations in the next twelve months.
Panjwani began his career in the restaurant industry at age 18 as a crew member at a local pizza joint, and continued working in the quick-service industry throughout college. He then completed his studies in Business Data Systems from the University of Texas. Upon graduation, Panjwani worked at a business-driven company before opening his first Pizza Inn in 2001. Fourteen years later, Panjwani plans to open a total of ten Checkers over the next five years.
“We continue to grow and move Checkers forward by finding experienced quick service restaurant operators such as Nick,” said Jennifer Durham, Vice President of Franchise Development of Checkers & Rally’s Restaurants, Inc. “We’re confident Nick will be very successful in growing our brand in the untapped market of Houston.”
Panjwani chose to invest in Checkers because of its franchisee-friendly system, as well as to expand his portfolio to include a high-quality burger chain.
“I am very passionate about the food service industry and always knew that I wanted to open a restaurant dedicated to burgers,” Panjwani said. “After much due diligence, I chose Checkers. They show promise in expansion, and I respect and admire their business model.”
Checkers continues to add craveable menu selections and introduce daring flavors to its fans. Options such as Monsterella Stix, Cold Creations and the original Big Buford® aim to bring the freshest ingredients and boldest flavors to hungry guests. The company continues to innovate, and remains true to its commitment to provide “Crazy Good Food” at an exceptional value.
“Checkers appeals to experienced operators like Nick because our franchise opportunity is different. The Company is the largest operator; we own and operate 40% of our system, which ensures both products and initiatives are tested before rollout to the franchise community.” Durham said. “Strong operators know that this alignment with our franchisees allows us to grow our system profitably.”
Checkers continues to grow, with opportunities for ownership available in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, New York and Washington, D.C., among other cities. The brand is coming off a highly successful 2014 in which they opened 35 new locations and crossed the 800 restaurant count mark. Checkers continued four straight years of positive system-wide comp sales in 2014, and the brand continues to grow, signing 65 new franchisees in the last two years. Checkers & Rally’s entered 2015 with more than 80 restaurant sites approved for development in 2015, and in the first two months of the year, the brand has already approved 10 new franchisees.