Cook Out and other fast-casual restaurants in the Charlotte area could soon have a new competitor: Checkers & Rallys.
The Tampa, Florida-based restaurant has had its eye on the Charlotte market for a while now, and company leaders are working extensively to identify potential franchisees in the area.
The nearest Checkers & Rallys is in Hickory, but the company has already identified 100 leads for potential franchisees in the greater Charlotte region, said Jennifer Durham, vice president of franchise development for Checkers & Rallys.
“We’re looking to bring in one to two new franchisees by the end of (2015),” she said. “… Our goal is to have one to two restaurants open in Charlotte (in 2016).”
John Palumbo, Charlotte-based franchise development director for Checkers & Rallys, relocated to Waxhaw from New York City about two years ago and is focusing on bringing the restaurant to the south Charlotte and Union County areas.
“I love the south Charlotte market,” Palumbo said. “We’re even (considering) bleeding into northern Union County. We’re now focused on … (using) our dollars to spend on generating interest (among franchisees).”
Checkers & Rallys is known for its burgers, fries and Colas, but also offers other food items with a “bold” flavor, Durham said, such as chicken wings with five different flavors. The restaurant also has a “Cold Creations” menu, including ice cream sundae snackers.
About 85 percent of Checkers & Rallys are drive-thru only, with a number of restaurants providing a double drive-thru for faster service.
“We find most of our consumers are eating at their dashboard or their keyboard, so we provide that very fast experience that delivers the way they live their lives,” Durham said.
Another focus of Checkers & Rallys is on franchising. The company operates 335 of its 809 restaurants, while the remaining 454 locations belong to the franchise community. This approach allows the company to be directly involved with the operation of some of its restaurants, while also giving franchisees the freedom to run their own restaurant.
“We’ve been successful in our franchise model, and we’re very confident in our corporate culture,” Palumbo said. “(Those two approaches) can be an asset to (potential franchisees) who don’t have quite as much experience as others.”
Palumbo said the Charlotte market will be 100-percent franchise owned. Find more information about becoming a franchisee at www.checkersfranchising.com.