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Greenville Business Magazine

Burger Time: Checkers & Rally's Look at Fast Upstate Expansion Thanks to Modular Restaurants

Jun 25, 2018 04:42PM ● By Chris Haire
New Jersey.




Since the start of 2018, the Tampa, Fla.-based Checkers & Rally’s Restaurants Inc. have announced plans to expand their reach in each one of these states.

In New Jersey alone, the drive-thru burger chain has set its fast-food sights on 60 new restaurants, while the franchise is eyeing 59 eateries in the Detroit area and 24 in Pittsburgh.

Now the drive-thru burger chain has added Upstate South Carolina to its expansion plans. 

With the goal of bringing 23 restaurants to the Greenville market, the Checkers & Rally's chain is  scouting real estate in the market. The two-restaurant company -- the drive-thru chains merged in 1999 -- have no immediate plans to begin construction.

"We just finished our evaluation of store capacity for the market in the spring, so now [the] next step is to identify within the trades where these would go and then match them to franchisees who have the desire to develop the market," Robert Bhagwandat, director of franchise development.

Bhagwandat says the company has seen "strong interest from our groups," noting the chain has successfully launched new restaurants in the Charleston market.  

Checkers & Rally's was bought for $525 million by New York-based 
Oak Hill Capital Partners in 2017, which began new efforts to expand the chain. Oak Hill is the chain's third owner in 10 years, according to the Tampa Bay Times

According to QSR magazine, a fast-food and fast-casual trade publication, Checkers 
& Rally's intends to build more than 60 new restaurants before the end of the year. A huge chunk of those will be the chain's modular units. 

Dubbed Model 4.0, the pre-fab restaurants are built in a warehouse by Ormond Beach, Fla.-based Valiant, a modular company which has also done work for Denny's and Pizza Inn. 

"It's really exciting for us. It’s really shaved down a lot of time on the construction side," Bhagwandat says, adding that amount of time can be up to eight weeks. 

He adds that modular restaurants not only cut down on build times, but lead to overall lower costs at the value chain.

Bhagwandat says the company is supposed to have 45-50 new modular restaurants completed by the end of the calendar year. Each is a single drive-thru unit, with a drive-thru window on one side, a walk-up window in the front, and a patio on the other side. 

Checkers is no stranger to the Greenville area. Under previous ownership, the chain had now-shudder stops on Laurens Road and Poinsett Highway.