July 29, 2009 // Franchising.com // TAMPA, Fla. – Despite what some are calling a very gloomy economy, five new Checkers Drive-In Restaurants opened during the first two months of 2009.
The new restaurants are located in Erlanger, Kentucky; Lapeer, Michigan; Willingboro, N.J.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Greenville, S.C. Three of the new restaurants are owned by existing franchisees and two by new franchisees within the organization.
Michael Arrowsmith, vice president of development, credits current economic conditions and new programs recently launched by Checkers as the forces behind the restaurant openings and increased interest in the 825-restaurant chain based in Tampa.
Specifically, Arrowsmith points to the brand's value proposition, declining site costs, career changes created by layoffs and new building concepts developed by Checkers over the past year. "Clearly, today's belt-tightening consumer is looking for great food at a very reasonable price and our menu offerings certainly meet that challenge," Arrowsmith said.
"At the same time, property values are on the decline providing excellent locations at prices not seen in recent times. Better locations and better purchase and lease prices make the going-in costs lower and the ROI faster," he continued.
Layoffs Bring Out the Entrepreneurial Spirit
Rising unemployment levels are also fueling an interest in franchising opportunities across the country according to Arrowsmith. "Through no fault of their own, very talented and hard-working people are losing their jobs. For some, this has been the catalyst to seriously look at the dream of building a business," he said.
In addition to the economic factors, Checkers has been working on a variety of building options to fit almost every situation. "Although our double drive-thru design is still a keystone of our heritage, we've created designs suitable for food courts in airports, malls, and universities; end caps for shopping centers and malls as well as packages for conversions from other concepts," Arrowsmith said.
Although Checkers has not projected a specific restaurant opening number for 2009, Arrowsmith is bullish on the year based on early '09 openings and the number of inquiries he's seeing.
Based in Tampa, Florida, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. has more than 825 restaurants located in 29 states and the District of Columbia.
Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. is the largest double drive-thru restaurant chain in the United States. The Company develops, owns, operates and franchises quick-service Checkers® and Rally's® double drive-thru restaurants. In recent years, Checkers/Rally's has been awarded several of the industry's most coveted recognitions: Best Drive-Thru in America in the QSR Drive-Thru Study for Rally's; Nation's Restaurant News Hot! Again Award for Checkers' sizzling business performance; and the American Business AwardSM for the Best Executive in America.