Industry News | October 19, 2012

Checker's Shows Off Its Best of the Best

Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, the largest double drive-thru chain in the United States, honored its outstanding employees and franchisees at the company’s Best of the Best Awards Ceremony held at its National Convention in Las Vegas from September 25–28, 2012.

The awards recognize the employees and franchisees that have added to the tremendous growth and success Checkers has experienced over the past year as the brand continues to develop with new locations across the country.

“There is no way Checkers would be at the level of success we currently find ourselves at without the contributions of our amazing employees and franchisees,” says Checkers/Rally’s CEO Rick Silva. “Our award winners have successfully implemented our roadmap to success and helped create a proud brand culture.”

Checkers named 21 award winners, three of whom took home two awards each. Award winners include:

  • No. 1 in Franchise Sales Growth (greater than 5 units): Steve Sawchuk, Lake Orion, Michigan
  • No. 1 in Franchise Sales Growth (less than 5 units): Wendy Reno, Brooklyn Center, Minnesota
  • No. 1 in Company Sales Growth (COD): Shaji Joseph, Tampa, Orlando, Florida
  • No. 1 in Company Sales Growth (DM): Amar Safdar, Dayton, Ohio
  • Developer of the Year: Alan Balen, Freeland, Michigan
  • Best Opening Week: Curtis Rowe, Lynwood, Illinois
  • Best New Restaurant Opening: Paul Amell, Highlands, Michigan
  • Community Involvement: Phil and Sharon Servoss, Tecumseh, Michigan
  • People Development: Michelle Crawford and Dave Miller, Louisville, Kentucky
  • Marketer of the Year (Traditional): Larry Ford, Chatsworth, Georgia
  • Marketer of the Year (Nontraditional): Manny Singh, Richmond Hills, New York
  • Legacy Award: Steve Sawchuk, Lake Orion, Michigan
  • Rookie Franchisee of the Year: Mark Latshaw, Lake Orion, Michigan
  • Franchise Operator of the Year: Danny Linderman, Savannah, GA
  • Company Operator of the Year – Shaji Joseph, Tampa, Orlando, Florida
  • Franchise Business Consultant of the Year: Mike Rosania, Tampa, Orlando, Florida, and Midwest
  • Franchisee of the Year (less than 5 units): Mike Burkhardt, Rockford, Michigan
  • Franchisee of the Year (greater than 5 units): Paul Amell, Highlands, Michigan
  • Special Award, Ambassador to the Brand: Kursheed Ahmad, East Meadow, New York
  • Sustained Sales Growth Award: Joe Hertzman, Louisville, Kentucky, and Darren Haggard, Evansville, Indiana
  • Market Leadership Award: Bruce Keehn, Marlboro, New Jersey, and Shana Gonzales, Roswell, Georgia
  • Turnaround Award: Jodi Stevens, Kenner, Louisiana, and Marc Mediate, Corporate

The award winners are determined by operational excellence within each category. With more than 124 franchisees and 15,000 employees total in the Checkers/Rally’s system, the Best of the Best Awards are truly a celebration of not only the brand’s top franchisees and employees, but some of the best in the industry.

“It’s an honor to be able to recognize our employees and franchisees with these awards, especially during such an exciting time for our brand,” Silva says. “The award winners are an inspiration for our entire company, and we can’t wait to see their continued success into the future.”


With nearly 800 restaurants and 25-plus years of experience, Checkers is consistently ranked highest in overall value by guests in the category, thriving in both booming and retracting economies.

The company owns and operates nearly 300 restaurants to ensure products and initiatives are tested before rollout to the franchise community.

In fact, Checkers has introduced restaurant format options at multiple investment levels, and added new product lines, such as Classic Wings and Cold Creations, while preserving its crave-able food and menu simplicity.

With breakthrough changes, Checkers company- and franchise-owned restaurants are leading the category in same-store sales performance, and enjoyed 28 straight periods of Company Comp Sales Growth and 17 straight periods of Franchise Comp Sales Growth.

This momentum has helped Checkers continue to grow nationally with opportunities for ownership available to build restaurants in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Chicago, New York, Detroit, and Miami, among other cities.