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Checkers restaurants plan to enter Roanoke market

Checkers restaurants plan to enter Roanoke market

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Checkers and Rally's Restaurant Inc. is making moves to put its casual restaurants into the Roanoke Valley market by the end of the year.

John Palumbo, the director of franchise development, said the company is planning to put about eight restaurants in the Roanoke region and is aiming to have the first store nail down a site and start construction by the end of the year.

Checkers and Rally's used to be two separate companies, with Checkers serving the Southeastern U.S. and Rally's mostly operating in the Midwest. They merged almost 20 years ago but kept the different names for each restaurant even though they serve the same menu. 

Checkers already has a Virginia presence, with stores in Northern and Southeastern Virginia, so restaurants opening in the Roanoke region will be called Checkers. The restaurants serve mostly burgers and fries and have drive-throughs.

Palumbo said the company has a new environmentally friendly design model using former shipping containers. The Roanoke area is one of the first markets where this model will be used, with plans for 60 locations statewide, according to a company spokeswoman. The design streamlines construction and eliminates several weeks from the development timeline. Palumbo said the company is looking at sites and will also look at existing structures to place the restaurants.

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