Fast Food And Fast Cars - A Winning Combination

NASCAR Tie-ins Are A Hot Promotional Tool For Franchises

Domino's Pizza and Checker's Drive-In Restaurants are off to the races following the waving of the green flag. Both fast-food companies are capitalizing on NASCAR and other professional racing tie-ins that build awareness and increase sales.

Checkers/Rally's, is the Official Drive-Thru Restaurant and Official Burger of NASCAR. The company is also heavily involved in the Indianapolis 500 each year.

In the next lane is Domino's Pizza, which is the Official Pizza of NASCAR, and will be the title sponsor of the NASCAR Busch Series race, the Domino's Pizza 500, on Aug. 20 at Michigan International Speedway. Domino's Pizza is also the primary sponsor of Michael Waltrip Racing's No. 99 Busch Series Chevrolet.

So what's behind all this fast-food and fast cars?

"Our motor sponsorships, combined with our other marketing, and operational initiatives, have enabled Checkers/Rally's to double our brand awareness in the past two years and to consistently drive positive same store sales gains," said Keith E. Sirois, president and CEO, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc.

"We are excited to expand our NASCAR sponsorship by partnering with Michigan International Speedway, located near our World Resource Center in Ann Arbor," said David A. Brandon, Domino's Pizza chairman and chief executive officer. "With Michael Waltrip driving the No. 99 Domino's Pizza Busch Series Chevrolet in the Domino's Pizza 250, the race weekend really reinforces our commitment to the sport and makes this a special event for our brand and company."

Branding and promotion are essential elements in fast-food franchising and the exposure provided by a NASCAR tie-in is a natural fit.

Checker's is making an effort to pull away from the pack. During this year's Indy 500 race week, the chain sponsored the Checkers/Rally's Brickyard Burger-Eating Contest, and sponsored the Media Pit Stop Challenge, an Indy 500 tradition. For the third year in a row, the chain was the title sponsor of the Checkers/Rally's Pit Stop Challenge, with a total prize pool worth $80,000.

The success of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway sponsorship, which runs through the 2009 race season, served as motivation for Checkers/Rally's to become the Official Drive-Thru Restaurant and Official Burger of NASCAR as well as four of International Speedway Corporation's tracks: Daytona, Homestead-Miami, Michigan, and Richmond.

Checkers/Rally's has created exciting programs with IMS for the Indy 500 and Brickyard 400 races, including:

- Six Checkers/Rally's branded locations opened inside the Speedway

- Brickyard 400 combo meals and cups sold at restaurants across the country

- Cause marketing programs with Team CAN, raising $100,000 for the Cure Autism Now Foundation in 2004

- National 2004 Brickyard 400 Sweepstakes winner waved the green flag to start the race

- Company hosted 2004 national franchise convention in Indianapolis during Brickyard 400 week

- In first year of sponsorship, Checkers franchisee of the year waved the green flag to start the Brickyard 400

- Motor sports-themed employee incentive and training programs

Looks like it's a checkered flag for fast-food franchises and their customers.

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