Checkers: 10 Little-Known Facts About the Fast Food Chain

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Checkers is one of the most popular fast food chains in the country and has something akin to a cult following. However, despite the fact that the chain has spent a considerable amount of time in the spotlight and under the scrutiny of the public eye, there are still some things that many people don’t know. With that in mind, here we present our list of things you probably didn’t know about Checkers. Well, what are you waiting for? Check it out for yourself below!

Number Ten: Its Founder Worked With Wendy’s First

Checkers was founded by Jim Mattei, a native of Alabama. Interestingly, Mattei first gained experience in the fast food industry by building several Wendy’s franchises. He was inspired to open Checkers when he noticed that most Wendy’s customers were using the drive-thru and ordering burger combinations.

Number Nine: Checkers Disrupted the Competition

In order to set themselves apart, Mattei and business partner Herbert G. Brown decided to make their burgers different from competitors like McDonald’s and Wendy’s. Rather than sell pre-made burgers, they decided to make their burgers to order, ensuring peak freshness.

Number Eight: Its First Combo Meal Cost $2.29

Checkers revealed its first combo meal to the public in February of 1992. The meal included their signature Champ burger, a small fry, and a medium drink for $2.29.

Number Seven: Its Current CEO Learned About Fast Food Through Burger King

CEO Enrique “Rick” Silva revealed in an interview that he got his start in the fast food industry through none other than Big Four member Burger King. He was initially interested in the fast food company’s real estate.

Number Six: The Income of the Average Checkers Customer Is $35,000 or Less

According to Silva, the average Checkers customer lives in a household where the income is $35,000 or less. The company markets to customers who work second jobs to make ends meet or need to feed themselves on a budget.

Number Five: ‘If You Want a Salad, Go Somewhere Else’

The company’s CEO is well-aware that Checkers doesn’t attract healthy eaters. Though it posts nutritional info on their website, the company only posts calorie counts in states where it’s legally required to, like in New York.

Number Four: Almost Half of the Stores Are Company-Owned

As of 2014, 40 percent of Checkers’ stores were company-owned. The chain continues to grow, and Silva hopes that eventually all Rally’s restaurants will eventually become Checkers.

Number Three: Rick Silva’s Undercover Boss Appearance Was Worth $20 Million in Advertising

It’s true! Silva and his team at Checkers believe his appearance on popular show Undercover Boss, in which a company’s CEO goes undercover as an employee to investigate the day-to-day goings-on, was worth the equivalent of $20 million in advertising for the company.

Number Two: It Made Clothes for Cats

In 2007, the company released an ad featuring a character called Rap Cat, who was a stuffed cat that also rapped. The ad became a viral video, and the company ended up giving away paper bags that cats could actually wear with checkered patterns on them.

Number One: The Story Behind the Wiener War

The company recently revealed it would be selling hot dogs for $0.79 a pop, lower than it’s ever sold them before. This was to combat Burger King’s recent decision to sell hot dogs for $1.99. Thanks for reading!

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