Why I Moved to Vegas to Open the First Checkers Franchise in Nevada

4 min read

Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email ktaylor@entrepreneur.com.

When David Meldrum became a Checkers franchisee, it meant new beginnings for both the entrepreneur and the brand. Meldrum came out of retirement to open his Checkers location, moving to Las Vegas from San Diego for the business opportunity. For Checkers, the Las Vegas location was the chain’s first restaurant in Nevada.

Here’s why Meldrum decided to take a chance and embark on a new beginning as a Checkers franchisee.  

Name: David Meldrum

Franchise owned: Checkers in Las Vegas

How long have you owned a franchise? 

We have been in business for five years.

Related: Spreading Holiday Cheer as a Christmas Decor Franchisee

Why franchising? 

Checkers provides a large pool of loyal customers while also providing the structure and support to make opening and operating stores more efficient.

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?  

My previous career was as a CPA/tax director.

Why did you choose this particular franchise?  

Burgers remain the largest quick service restaurant segment and Checkers has a great reputation for offering tasty burgers and fries while providing a high level of support to its franchisees. Checkers has about 800 restaurants across the United States and we focus on flavor at an amazing value with our seasoned burgers and seasoned fries. We are the only drive-thru restaurant offering burgers and authentic chicken wings, which are available in five different flavors.

How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business? 

Approximately $1.2 million for building, equipment, site improvements and pre-opening expenses.

Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?  

My partner has more than 20 years in the QSR/burger business and we spoke with many franchises directly before deciding on Checkers. I was fortunate to have the assistance of some very experienced operators in opening my first Checkers restaurant and hiring an experienced on site manager. Four years of operating the first restaurant has taught me a lot about the industry, and with the assistance of current management, has prepared me for future expansion. 

Related: Becoming a Franchisee Allowed Me to Pursue My Bachelor's Degree

What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?  

Having financial markets collapse and credit disappear in the middle of building our first restaurant was a hurdle we had to overcome. There is no doubt that the difficult economy in recent years has had a dramatic impact on many of our guests, requiring even greater efforts to ensure that we address the need to provide high quality products at a great value. However, we continued to plan for expansion during the economic slowdown and we look forward to bringing the Checkers experience to other areas of Las Vegas in the years ahead. 

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?  

Make sure you have the best people possible to operate the business and sufficient capital to respond to changes in the marketplace.

What’s next for you and your business? 

We plan to continue building restaurants in Las Vegas for several years, making Checkers burgers and fries available to all of the loyal Checkers customers in the valley and those that have not yet had the opportunity to enjoy our great food. Our goal is to provide most of Las Vegas the opportunity to experience Checkers while providing continued employment opportunities for our current and future employees.

Related: Why This Ex-Franchisor Decided to Become a Franchisee

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