With more than 800 locations across the U.S., Checkers and Rally’s is one of the few large quick-service brands that still has top-tier market availability in 2015, and it is poised to expand rapidly. “We still have room to grow in all major U.S. markets,” says Jennifer Durham, vice president of franchise development at Checkers and Rally’s.
Checkers and Rally's has a brand that stands out, and it goes beyond the signature black, white, and red diner-style decor that all locations share. It's seen three consecutive years of same-store sales growth, has a 2.5-to-1 sales investment ratio, and a strong return on investment of 52.4 percent. “For nearly 30 years, we have focused on bold and flavorful food, amazing value for our guests, and restaurant profitability,” Durham says. “Our uniqueness only starts with iconic buildings. We differentiate ourselves by specializing on a successful drive-thru concept, catering to late night business, and executing a nimble, metrics-driven management style that improves restaurant profitability by developing efficiencies across the business.”
Potential franchisees must meet several criteria for consideration. “We are looking for both individuals with prior restaurant experience and those who are seeking a financial investment with an operating partner,” Durham says. Franchisees must have a minimum net worth of $750,000 and a minimum of $250,000 in liquid assets.
Franchise ownership begins with a mutual discovery process between Checkers and Rally’s and qualified franchise candidates. “We begin the process with a due diligence phase which includes the presentation of our Franchise Disclosure Document, completion of the franchise application, and substantiation of financials, as well as submission of the business plan,” Durham says. “This process allows us to each explore the potential for a good fit.” The qualification culminates with Candidate Day at the Checkers and Rally's Restaurant Support Center in Tampa, Florida, where potential franchisees meet the corporate team. Afterward, the company works together with the new franchisees to find strong sites and to build their new restaurant.
The process of developing a new location can take anywhere from six to 12 months, depending on the restaurant format selected. Checkers and Rally's has options for inline and end cap real estate, non-traditional venues, and for the conversion of an existing structure to a branded restaurant. The company also recently introduced a redesigned version of its classic double drive-thru format for standalone stores. The restaurants can fit on less than half an acre, and preferred sites for development include the ability to incorporate a drive-thru. Each new franchisee is assigned a real estate manager and a construction manager to help source sites and build the best location.
The ongoing support provided is also extensive. The new franchisee's team receives five weeks of personalized in-restaurant training and field comprehensive franchise training. The corporate field marketing team gives specialized support for six months surrounding the opening of each restaurant, and afterward, franchisees have the help of an assigned franchise business consultant.
Sixty percent of Checkers and Rally's restaurants are franchised, and 40 percent are company-owned. “We are vested in our franchise family—we operate restaurants too!” says Durham. “Our focus on profitability and our franchisee relationship means we are aligned with our Checkers and Rally's franchisees.”
For more information about franchising opportunities with Checkers and Rally's, visit www.checkers.com
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