Former McDonald's Employee Buys Seven Rally's Restaurants and Plans to Open Six More
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Former McDonald's Employee Buys Seven Rally's Restaurants and Plans to Open Six More

Franchise industry expert aims to add six additional rally's restaurants to Virginia.

Virginia Beach, VA (PRWEB) February 11, 2014 - Checkers and Rally's Restaurants, Inc., the largest double drive-thru chain in the United States, has announced plans to expand its presence in Virginia with the opening of two new Rally's restaurants in 2014. The brand's growth will be spearheaded by Craig and Debbie Leonard, food franchise veterans, who hope to add six more units to their current portfolio of seven restaurants by 2016.

"We're very excited to have Craig and Debbie take Rally's to the next level in Virginia," Jennifer Durham, Vice President of Franchise Development for Checkers and Rally's Restaurants, Inc. said. "This team's extensive experience in the food franchise industry, the capital investments planned and their enthusiasm for our unique, bold flavors will ensure that we will see outstanding growth and success in the region."

The Leonards join the brand with more than 60 years of combined restaurant experience. Debbie, who will personally supervise the market, first joined McDonald's at the age of 16 as a team member, where she worked her way up to Management after graduating college. She then worked as both a Business Consultant and Training Consultant before retiring from the company in 2012. In between her tenure at McDonald's, Deborah also worked for Rally's as a district manager in New Orleans after relocating to the city to support Craig in his career.

Impressed by Rally's products, corporate support, and business model, the Leonards purchased seven existing Rally's restaurants in October 2013, and are already moving forward with plans to open two new restaurants in early 2014. The Leonards' development plans include adding at least two restaurants every year until 2016.

"The restaurants we bought had great potential to succeed. When we bought them, they were experiencing double-digit percentage losses and now we're seeing positive sales growth," Debbie Leonard said. "We've rejuvenated the units by replacing most of the equipment and renovating the interior and exterior of the restaurants. We also motivated our employees—most of whom have worked for Rally's for a long time—by providing new uniforms and explaining our shared vision with them."

Her company, Mission Foods, pays its employees for Thanksgiving, Christmas and their birthdays, and is committed to offering career paths to team members that wish to advance with Rally's. In fact, she implemented a sales contest where Caran Edney, General Manager of their Newport News restaurant won a cruise for two to the Caribbean that she will enjoy with her sister in March of this year.

Debbie is confident that there is plenty of room for more Rally's locations in the market, which has not seen a new Rally's opening in over 10 years, and has already hired another district manager to assist in moving the franchise forward in the market. This winning team continues to search for great talent for both Management and Team Members roles as they grow their restaurant base.

"The Rally's franchise opportunity continues to draw interest from business savvy entrepreneurs, who see the constant menu innovation and growth opportunities in new and existing markets as being a recipe for success," Durham said.

Rally's continues to add craveable menu selections and introduce daring flavors to its fans. Options such as Monsterella Stix, Cold Creations and the original Big Buford® aim to bring the freshest ingredients and boldest flavors to hungry guests. The company continues to innovate, and remains true to its commitment to provide crazy good food at an exceptional value.

Checkers continues to grow nationally with opportunities for ownership available in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, New York and Washington D.C, among other cities.

About Checkers and Rally's Restaurants, Inc.

Checkers and Rally's Restaurants, Inc. is the largest double drive-thru restaurant chain in the United States. The company develops, owns, operates and franchises both Checkers and Rally's® restaurants. Based in Tampa, Fla., it has almost 800 restaurants open across the U.S. In recent years, the brand has been awarded several of the industry's most prestigious awards including: "Best Drive-Thru in America" by QSR Magazine and the "Hot! Again Award" from Nation's Restaurant News. For more information about Checkers, please visit


Brian Jaeger
No Limit Agency


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