Checkers & Rally’s, which operates nearly 800 drive-thru fast-food restaurants across the U.S., plans to re-enter the Baton Rouge market with 10 to 15 locations.
Jennifer Durham, vice president of franchise development for the Tampa, Florida-based chain, said Checkers is looking at getting existing and new franchisees to enter the Baton Rouge market. The plan is to identify potential franchisees by the end of the year and have them open their first Checkers in Baton Rouge in late 2016.
Rally’s, which merged with Checkers in 1999, had five locations in Baton Rouge in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including one just outside the North Gates of LSU. Fast Track Restaurants bought the locations in 1995 but closed them about a year later because of dwindling sales.
The company operates restaurants under both the Checkers and Rally’s names, but the menus and prices are the same. When the company moves into a new market, the new restaurants are branded as Checkers, Durham said. There are 22 Rally’s locations in metro New Orleans and six Checkers in the Lafayette area.
The restaurants specialize in hamburgers, fries, hot dogs and milkshakes. While there is some outdoor seating, most of the business at Checkers is drive-thru. The current restaurant size is 940 square feet, so Durham said the chain is looking at small footprints.
Checkers has identified seven areas in Baton Rouge as “hot spots” where it would like to put a restaurant, Durham said. Those are near the Interstate 10-Interstate 110 split; at the I-110/22nd Street intersection; near the intersection of Winbourne Avenue and North Acadian Thruway; at North Ardenwood and Choctaw drives; at Ardenwood and Florida Boulevard; near Florida and Airline; and at Airline and Coursey Boulevard.
Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.