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December 22, 2015

Checkers chain has aggressive CT expansion plans

PHOTO | Contributed

By this time next year, you might be seeing Checkers restaurants popping up all over Connecticut. The Florida chain has ambitious plans to open 40 locations throughout the state in the next couple years.

John Palumbo, director of franchise development, said the fast-food chain (which prefers to be called a quick-service restaurant) has no qualms about coming to Connecticut in spite of the perception by some that it is anti-business. He said internal metrics based on demographics, household income, population and real estate costs among other factors show the state to be an attractive expansion target for the Florida chain that has 800 locations nationwide, including its Ralley locations.

“Connecticut has come back and people want to lend in that market and people want to build in that market,” Palumbo said in a phone interview from his Charlotte, N.C. office. The company will rely entirely on franchisees at this point to make the Connecticut expansion happen, he said, adding that company-owned locations make up about 12 percent of the total stores.

Checkers offers different footprints for franchisees. Some have drive-thrus. Palumbo said the initial investment, not including real estate costs can be from $200,000 to $750,000. The franchise royalty fee is 4 percent. Palumbo said Checkers locations, on average, produce $1.4 million in annual revenue.

The restaurants are open at 10 a.m. with no breakfast service. The company targets the middle class market for its main demographic.

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