Frances Allen is stepping down as Checkers & Rally's CEO

The chief executive guided the drive-thru chains through the pandemic, restructuring and its sale last year to a trio of investment firms. A search is on for her successor.
Checkers Drive-In Restaurants is looking for a new CEO following the departure of Frances Allen. | Photo courtesy of Checkers.

Frances Allen, who guided Checkers and Rally’s through the pandemic and its inflationary aftermath, is stepping down as CEO, the company said on Thursday.

Allen is leaving the company to focus on board work. She will remain at Checkers through September to facilitate a transition while a replacement is found.

“Since Frances joined our team in 2020, she has played an instrumental role in helping us to execute on a number of key initiatives that have helped build a solid foundation for the business and a clear path forward for the company’s next phase of growth,” David Barr, independent board member with Checkers and Rally’s, said in a statement.

Checkers and Rally’s operate 800 locations. The Tampa-based chain was struggling entering the pandemic with a heavy debt load.

In February 2020 the company brought in Allen, a turnaround specialist who had previously worked with Boston Market. The pandemic would provide a lifeline as customers shifted their dining to drive-thrus, in which the fast-food chain specializes.

The company received a cash injection in early 2021. The company redesigned its restaurants under Allen and started focusing on AI drive-thru technology to ease labor costs and revealed a new prototype for expansion.

But inflation and debt would prove difficult for the company and last year was sold to a trio of investment firms, Arbour Lane Capital Management, Garnett Station Partners and Guggenheim Investments, that controlled the company’s debt.

Allen said the company’s moves have proven effective. “I leave knowing the company is well positioned to execute on its next chapter of growth,” Allen said in a statement.

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