Checkers Drive-In Restaurants is heating up the QSR market with its reimaginged restaurant design. Scheduled to debut this summer in Lakeland, Florida, this “restaurant of the future” format is the cornerstone of the drive-thru brand’s growth plan.
Plus, Checkers and Rally's recently rolled out a fully integrated mobile app and rewards program. During the pandemic consumer demand for drive-thru has spurred QSR and fast casual brands to revisit their store development plans, adding drive-thrus and contactless pickup options to their new designs.
A 35-year-old brand, Checkers has been rolling out double-drive-thrus and walkup windows for decades. Checkers and its sister brand Rally’s has about 900 locations up and running, explains Checkers & Rally's Vice President of Development Kristen McDonald.
“We look at the restaurant of the future and how we can we improve upon it,” says McDonald. Changes to the store’s format and technology are designed to improve both the guest and the employee experience.
A typical location is a “small box” about 950 square feet. The interior will be arranged for greater employee comfort – including larger windows for more natural light and increased ventilation, and behind-the-scenes improvements.
One of the brands top priorities for the year is to make locations “more efficient,” says McDonald. Famous for its seasoned fries, Checkers is adding automatic fry dispensers to assist employees -- and cut back on walking back and forth during these times of socially distancing -- “so they have what they need right there for their shift,” she adds.
With efficiency and drive-thru times in mind, the kitchen will switch over to a clamshell grill from a flattop. Everything is made to order, and with the clamshell-style grill the burgers will cook faster, McDonald notes.