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Checkers plans to add up to 12 LI locations over five years

Checkers franchisee Atul Gupta, who owns three locations

Checkers franchisee Atul Gupta, who owns three locations on Long Island, including the Hempstead Village location. Credit: Atul Gupta

Fast-food chain Checkers is planning to add up to a dozen drive-through restaurants on Long Island over the next five years.

Checkers now has 17 franchisee-owned locations on Long Island, serving burgers, chicken and wings, fries and hot dogs. Checkers restaurants typically employ about 40 full- and part-time workers.

“We are excited to continue our growth here,” said John Palumbo, Checkers franchise development director.

Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Inc., based in Tampa, Florida, opened its first location in 1986 in Mobile, Alabama. The chain has about 820 locations nationally, 320 of them owned and operated by the company. Checkers is owned by Manhattan-based private equity firm Sentinel Capital Partners.

“We are not only franchisers, but we are operators as well,” Palumbo said.

To expand, Checkers said it is looking for potential independent franchise operators interested in opening a restaurant. Applicants should have a total net worth of $750,000. The average investment is $500,000. In the last three years nearly 100 new franchisees have signed up nationally, the company said.

The average location is a 1,000-square-foot, stand-alone building with a drive-through, and the property is normally 10,000 to 12,000 square feet.

Atul Gupta, 44, of Jackson Heights, Queens, who has been a Checkers franchisee since April 2015, owns three locations, in Elmont, Hempstead Village and Westbury. Gupta, who had owned a Taco Bell and a deli in Manhattan, took over the locations for $2.8 million from a former franchisee.

“I had no time to build a new store, so we took over those places,” said Gupta, a former civil engineer who emigrated from India in 2011.

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