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Checkers and Rally's Restaurants, Inc., Tampa, FL

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2012, Click to Enter The 2014 American Business Awards

Company: Checkers and Rally's Restaurants, Inc., Tampa, FL
Entry Submitted By: Kim Francis Communications, LLC
Company Description: Checkers and Rally 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.
Nomination Category: Company / Organization Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Company of the Year - Food & Beverage

Nomination Title: Checkers and Rally's Restaurants, Inc.

Tell the story about what this nominated organization achieved since January 1 2013 (up to 525 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

Checkers and Rally’s Restaurants, Inc., has achieved 13 consecutive quarters of positive same store sales growth, consistently ahead of the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) category average. In addition to sales, the brands have experienced significant traffic growth, great improvements in speed of service (50 seconds faster), and all-time high levels in guest satisfaction.

During the last five years, Checkers/Rally’s has grown its revenue by 34% and its EBITDA by 157%. On a restaurant unit level, average unit volumes have increased by more than $100,000 per restaurant and operating margins have improved by more than 200 basis points.

These results were achieved by focusing on three essential priorities: a disciplined business strategy focused on systematically driving results; an unrelenting drive for innovation and continuous improvement; and a passionate and personal engagement at all levels.

In 2013, Checkers/Rally’s introduced a clear and consistent plan called “Mission to Grow: Growing People, Profits and Places,” which focused on the keys to the brands’ continued success.

In “Growing People,” restaurants across the system adopted a best-in-class hiring system and training system, Job App and Learning Management System respectively. Restaurants rewarded employees at all levels by promoting from within, with more than 80% of district managers and operations directors coming from with the ranks; providing monthly bonuses based on the performance of each restaurant, and offering an annual cruise for the top 10% of GMs across the brands.

In “Growing Profits,” Checkers/Rally’s launched significant revenue growth initiatives in 2013 to capture additional occasions from frequent fast food users through Late Night expansion, Cold Creations frozen treats line, new snack items, and unbeatable Value offerings with bold flavor. At the same time, cost saving programs were implemented, including a new restaurant labor model and scheduling technology, and new restaurant back-of-house solutions that enable operators to track performance and make real time adjustments.

And in “Growing Places,” Checkers/Rally’s drove new restaurant growth in 2013 from both existing and new franchisees with compelling returns and strong development support. In 2013, existing franchisees accounted for 66% of new openings, and new franchisees signed up in significant numbers, doubling the size of Checkers/Rally’s franchise family in the last three years. At the same time, the brand continued to expand its portfolio of building options to include a new prototype single drive-thru, inline, end cap, conversions and its traditional double drive-thru, further ensuring that franchisees can grow in a wide variety of highly desirable locations.

Each of these initiatives was paired with the brand’s values, like the “Courage to be Bold and Grow,” and each was implemented by a passionate and highly engaged team of company employees, franchisees and operators.

As a result, the brand is succeeding like never before, and the industry is taking notice. In 2013, Checkers/Rally’s was named among the top five food franchisors in Franchisee Satisfaction by Franchise Business Review, and this year, Rick Silva, President and CEO of Checkers and Rally’s Restaurants, was included in Nation’s Restaurant News “10 Restaurant Executives to Watch.”

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Provide a brief (up to 125 words) biography about the leader of this nominated organization:

Rick Silva joined Checkers & Rally’s Restaurants, Inc., as President and CEO in February 2007 and was appointed Vice Chairman of its Board of Directors in 2009. Since joining the Company, Mr. Silva has led a comprehensive restructuring and expansion of the business. He recruited industry-leading talent to the management team, led the development of a new brand strategy, and directed the implementation of best-in-class operating and performance management systems.

During Rick’s tenure, the chain has experienced category-leading sales growth, with more than three straight years of consecutive comp sales increases every quarter. Moreover, the company is growing again. New franchisees are signing up in record number, and a new Checkers or Rally’s restaurant opens almost every week. Today, Checkers/Rally’s is a vibrant growth brand.