Checkers gets a $20M cash injection

The drive-thru chain, which was struggling before the pandemic, has seen sales surge and received new funding from Oak Hill Capital to further growth.
Checkers cash influx
Photograph courtesy of Checkers

Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, which a year ago was considered a candidate for bankruptcy, now goes into 2021 with a $20 million cash injection from its private equity owner and new growth initiatives.

The Tampa, Fla.-based drive-thru concept on Monday said that Oak Hill Capital Partners provided the cash to fuel the company’s growth this year—following a 2020 in which the chain generated “high single digit same-store sales growth” while amending its debt.

“Checkers has demonstrated strong performance … despite the significant challenges brought by the events of 2020,” Peter Armstrong, principal at Oak Hill, said in a statement. He noted that Checkers’ sales performance continued into this year.

“We have great confidence in the Checkers management team, and we are pleased to support them in their plans for the future.”

Few chains saw their fortunes turn around during the pandemic quite like Checkers, which operates 836 locations under the Checker’s and Rally’s names. As a drive-thru concept, a customer base clamoring for takeout was right in its wheelhouse.

Before the pandemic, Fitch Ratings listed Checkers among companies most likely to declare bankruptcy and Moody’s in 2019 downgraded its credit rating, citing its heavy debt load.

Checkers’ sales results improved its fortunes. And the company said last year that it was looking to restructure its debt and get additional investment funds to fuel an “aggressive growth agenda.” At the time, the chain said its second quarter same-store sales rose 9%.

The company said on Monday that it approved 40 new franchisees last year and has 72 new locations in its development pipeline. Checkers on Monday promised to reveal more information about its growth strategy during the ICR Conference laster this week.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Veggie Grill evolves the menu to keep pace with plant-based trends

Behind the Menu: Since the fast casual’s start in 2006, many new meat and dairy alternatives have come to market and consumers’ health perceptions have changed. Veggie Grill has been forced to change too.


The Subway saga takes another turn

The Bottom Line: Just when we thought the massive deal was set to go through, the feds stepped in to have their say.


Retailers are bracing for a tough few months. Restaurateurs should heed the warning

The Bottom Line: Large retailers are concerned about a softening consumer and already see evidence that is happening. But restaurant executives seem far more optimistic.


More from our partners