July 29, 2009 // Franchising.com // TAMPA, Fla. – Non-traditional locations, including an airport, a state university and four turnpike rest areas, account for six of the 18 new Checkers Drive-In Restaurants opened in the second quarter of 2009 as the double drive-thru chain headquartered here sets a pace of openings in the first half of the year not seen since the year 2000.
In the first six months of 2009, 23 new restaurants have opened in eight states through nine new franchisees, 10 current franchisees and one opened by the Company.
According to Michael Arrowsmith, Senior Vice President of Development, the dynamics of new franchisee groups along with new non-traditional locations are creating exciting new opportunities for the nearly 25-year old double drive-thru chain.
Turnpike and Airport Locations Feature Big Volume, Little Space
Leading the push in non-traditional locations are two new franchisee groups that are leaders in the travel industry – Areas USA and Delaware North Companies. Areas USA and its parent company, Barcelona, Spain-based Areas, operates more than 1,200 travel-related food, beverage and retail establishments in Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Dominican Republic, St. Martin and the U.S. The company has opened Checkers Restaurants at the Ft. Pierce and Canoe Creek Travel Plazas in Florida.
"These openings were some of the most challenging in our history," according to Arrowsmith who noted the existing Burger King locations were converted overnight. "At 6 p.m. they were one brand and by six a.m. the following morning they were Checkers," he said.
Buffalo, New York-based Delaware North Companies opened three new Checkers locations in the second quarter, one at the Buffalo International Airport and two New York Turnpike locations, Seneca and Pembroke Travel Plazas.
Other non-traditional locations opened during the second quarter included feature a convenience store location, a dining room only restaurant in Brooklyn Heights, New York, and a food court at Mississippi Valley State University.
"The simplicity of the Checkers concept and innovative designs are providing both new and existing franchisees with a wide range of options. It's an exciting time to be in the business," Arrowsmith said.
Popularity of Traditional Double Drive-Thru Designs Continue
Although non-traditional locations are becoming more important, the traditional double drive-thru design continues to be a major driver of the business. "Of the 18 locations opened in the second quarter, 10 are the traditional design which really defines the Checkers brand," Arrowsmith said.
On the other hand, the non-traditional designs including food courts in airports and travel plazas as well as conversions of other QSR brands and end-caps reflect the current economy and new designs options now available from Checkers.
Based in Tampa, Florida, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. has more than 840 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.