A couple of weeks again, we heard the alarming information that Panera is likely to be quashing its hometown persona with a chilly company rebrand. The quick informal chain considerably confusingly (but additionally endearingly) operates as St. Louis Bread Co. throughout the metropolis of St. Louis, Missouri, the place it was based, and there was a suspicion that each one remaining Bread Co.–branded areas had been turning into Paneras. Fortunately, the Riverfront Occasions assured us that the rumor turned out to not be true—nevertheless it bought us enthusiastic about one other chain that famously goes by two completely different names: Checkers and Rally’s. Will these beloved spots ever collapse below one banner?
Are Checkers and Rally’s the identical restaurant?
Checkers and Rally’s are a series of drive-in eating places serving up the fare you’d anticipate from a spot with purple neon signage: burgers, scorching canine, ice cream treats, and ridiculously good french fries. Nevertheless, if you happen to grew up with considered one of these Americana joints in your space, you won’t even know that it goes by a unique identify elsewhere.
The 2 eating places had been as soon as solely separate entities below completely different possession. They had been based proper across the identical time—Rally’s in 1984, Checkers in 1986—and every swiftly went by means of the motions of just about any profitable quick meals chain. Rally’s began absorbing different drive-thru manufacturers whereas Checkers began increasing outdoors the Cellular, Alabama space.
Although the eating places remained separate all through the ’90s, they’d one thing of a symbiotic relationship within the drive-in area. Some Checkers areas had been leased by Rally’s, and the businesses entered a administration settlement in 1997, after Rally’s had been bought by the dad or mum firm of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s—one other model that understands learn how to function below two names concurrently.
The total merger of the Checkers and Rally’s manufacturers was introduced in 1999 and accomplished in 2000. Ever since then, clients have been in a position to go to their native Rally’s or Checkers, however they’re precisely the identical restaurant with the identical menu. The one distinction is likely to be that some areas are grandfathered in with eating room seating, whereas the model now not builds areas with any.
Will Checkers and Rally’s ever function below the identical identify?
It’s all the time extra spectacular than it needs to be when a model avoids a doubtlessly apparent streamlining transfer, so I admit I’m stunned that the 2 manufacturers have stayed distinct during the last 20-plus years—particularly as a result of, with practically 900 areas, that’s lots of signage to think about. I requested the corporate about its technique of sustaining two names for a similar restaurant.
“The corporate has no plans in place to rebrand below one identify,” Checkers & Rally’s tells The Takeout. “They proceed to witness sturdy buyer loyalty to every model identify as they broaden throughout the East and West Coast.”
Robust buyer loyalty—the white whale of the quick meals trade. We are able to’t fault Checkers & Rally’s for prioritizing it in any respect prices. Certain, it is likely to be momentarily complicated for a couple of stray diners right here and there (reminiscent of once I moved to a brand new metropolis and thought Checkers was coping with some critical copyright infringement), however for many who have spent practically 40 years constructing an affinity for one model or the opposite, it’s a small consolation. And quick meals is within the enterprise of promoting us small comforts anyway it is aware of how.