Ryan Joy, senior director of research and development for Checkers and Rally's, is recognized as an Alabama University alumni.
The University of Alabama has produced thousands of graduates who have gone on to make an impact on the world and recently, Alabama Alumni Magazine took a look at 15 alums from the first 15 years of the 2000’s who are making a difference.
For Ryan Joy, a University of Alabama graduate and currently the senior director of research and development for the Tampa-based franchise brand, the Checkers brand is in his blood. His father was the first Checkers franchisee, opening a location in St. Petersburg when Ryan was in middle school, which drove Joy to earn his UA bachelor’s degree in restaurant and hospitality management in 2001.
Joy has been instrumental in the brand’s innovative menu and active R&D program, pushing for a test kitchen to help plan for the launch of successful products.
“Customers can taste the food and give feedback in real time, which is really valuable,” Joy told Alabama Alumni Magazine about the brand’s 4,300-square-foot design and research center. Joy has helped keep the brand’s offerings fresh, introducing homeruns such as the Cold Creations menu. “For them to trust me, and trust me to give them products that are going to sell, that’s a huge reward. It puts a huge smile on my face.”