Former Checkers Assistant Manager Fulfills Dream of Becoming Restaurant Owner

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18-year Checkers Employee Finds Financial Partners to Open Five New Restaurants in Tampa

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Checkers & Rally’s Restaurants, Inc. (Checkers®), an iconic restaurant chain, continues to prove itself as an organization that supports and cultivates individuals determined to grow within and alongside the brand. The most recent member to join the franchise system is Shaji Joseph, an approved operating partner, and his business partners, Kirit Patidar and Chirac Amin. The trio recently acquired four corporate restaurants, and will be opening an additional five new locations across Tampa in the next five years.

Joseph began his journey with the company as an assistant manager at a Checkers restaurant in Philadelphia. From there he was promoted to general manager and then district manager, during which time he transformed his region into one of the highest volume markets in the company. Recognizing Joseph’s potential, Checkers then appointed him as franchise business consultant for Northeast markets before transferring him to the corporate headquarters as Company Operations Director.

Joseph’s extensive quick service experience and familiarity with the Checkers system will compliment Patidar and Amin’s deep business acumen. Patidar and Amin own seven pharmacies between them, and have several other business holdings including a motel, gas station, multi-family housing and other commercial real estate. Amin also runs a non-profit rehabilitation clinic for AIDS patients.

“The success and growth of Checkers would not be possible without our strong restaurant operators and the loyal fans they serve,” said Jennifer Durham, Vice President of Franchise Development for Checkers & Rally’s Restaurants, Inc. “Checkers is an organization that cares deeply about our guests, our employees and our franchisees. We’re thrilled that Shaji has transformed his role from employee to owner, and we are looking forward to seeing him continue his trajectory of success with Chirac and Kirit as they expand in our home city.”

The trio, who will be operating as Wow Burgers, LLC, plan to open five locations in Tampa in five years.

“I have always dreamed of becoming a Checkers franchisee, so I worked my way up in the company to learn the necessary skills to successfully represent the brand,” Joseph said. “We are looking forward to offering a great dining experience to our guests, which we will achieve not only with our food, but also by hiring customer-focused members to join our team.”

Checkers continues to add craveable menu selections and introduce daring flavors to its fans. Options such as Monsterella Stix, Cold Creations and the original Big Buford® aim to bring the freshest ingredients and boldest flavors to hungry guests. The company continues to innovate, and remains true to its commitment to provide “Crazy
Good Food” at an exceptional value.

“The Checkers franchise opportunity continues to draw interest from employees and savvy entrepreneurs alike who see our 30 years of experience, constant menu innovation and strong growth potential in new and existing markets as being a recipe for success,” Durham said. “Our latest franchisee is testament that passionate employees can find a place in the Checkers and Rally’s franchise family to build their own successful restaurant business.”

Checkers continues to grow, with opportunities for ownership available in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, New York and Washington D.C., among other cities. The brand is coming off a highly successful 2014 in which they opened 35 new locations and crossed the 800 restaurant count mark. Checkers continued four straight years of positive system-wide comp sales in 2014, and the brand continues to grow, signing 65 new franchisees in the last two years. Checkers & Rally’s entered 2015 with more than 80 restaurant sites approved for development in 2015, and in the first two months of the year, the brand has already approved 10 new franchisees.

About Checkers & Rally's Restaurants, Inc.
Based in Tampa, Fla., Checkers & Rally's Restaurants, Inc., an iconic and innovative drive-thru restaurant chain known for its "Crazy Good Food," exceptional value, and people-first attitude, operates and franchises both Checkers® and Rally's® restaurants. With more than 800 restaurants and room to grow, Checkers & Rally's is a proven brand with flexible building formats that is aggressively expanding across the country. Checkers & Rally's is a place where franchisees and employees who work hard can create opportunity for themselves, their families, and their communities. In recent years, the brand has been awarded several of the industry's most prestigious awards including: Top 5 in Food Franchises by Franchise Business Review, Top 500 by Entrepreneur Magazine, ""Best Drive-Thru in America"" by QSR Magazine and the "Hot! Again" award from Nation's Restaurant News. For more information about franchise opportunities with Checkers & Rally's, please visit http://www.checkersfranchising.com.

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Lauren Boukas
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