Former Yum! Brands, Benihana and Cafe Rio Mexican Grill Executive to Take Industry-Leading Drive-Thru Brand’s Finance, Accounting and Treasury Functions to the Next Level
Tampa, FL (Restaurant News Release) On the heels of its annual convention, where Checkers & Rally’s laid out a detailed plan on how to level-up in all aspects of the business in 2019, the brand has another exciting announcement to make: financial executive Bob Baker joined the leading burger franchise’s leadership team as Chief Financial Officer.
Baker is a franchise industry veteran, most recently serving as CFO at Benihana, Inc. from 2015 until 2018. Before Benihana, Inc., Baker was President and CFO at Café Rio Mexican Grill, a fast-casual Mexican concept, where he guided the team over a nine-year period and helped grow the company from six restaurants to 72 restaurants. Before his role at Café Rio, and for the majority of his professional career, Baker was with Yum! Brands. For 16 years, Baker worked in various roles with the QSR brand, including positions in financial and strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, accounting and field finance positions. During his time at Yum! Brands, Baker also worked as a multi-unit operator for a three-year period between his financial roles, giving him a detailed view of the brand through the lens of an operator. This is a similar approach to Checkers & Rally’s, where the brand opens corporate restaurants in select markets to gain insightful data to help franchisees find success.
“I have always enjoyed the restaurant industry, specifically the teamwork required to run, build and grow great restaurant companies,” said Baker. “This is an incredible opportunity to join Checkers & Rally’s as the brand pushes to the next level of growth, led by a tight-knit leadership team and an impressive group of growth-minded franchisees. I have received a very warm welcome from the Checkers & Rally’s family, and I am excited to hit the ground running.”
Baker joined the Checkers & Rally’s team a year after its purchase by Oak Hill Capital at a time when the brand’s growth is at an all-time high. The brand is on pace for 50 restaurant openings in 2018, including the anticipated landmark opening of its 900th restaurant before the end of the year. These strong numbers are coming off a record-breaking year in 2017, when the brand also opened 50 new restaurants and signed 44 new franchise partners. With this momentum, the brand’s overarching goal of hitting 1,200 restaurants by 2020 is well within reach.
“This is a very exciting time to be a part of the Checkers & Rally’s team. Not only are we growing with new restaurants, but we have exciting initiatives in the pipeline when it comes to our employee and guest experience, as well as digital innovation,” said Checkers & Rally’s SVP and Chief Development Officer Jennifer Durham. “As we lay the groundwork the rest of this year for these new initiatives, we know Bob will be able to provide additional support and insight to help us to take our brand to the next level in 2019.”
About Checkers & Rally’s Restaurants, Inc.
Based in Tampa, Fla., Checkers & Rally’s Restaurants, Inc., an iconic and innovative drive-thru restaurant chain known for its “Crazy Good Food,” exceptional value, and people-first attitude, operates and franchises both Checkers® and Rally’s® restaurants. With more than 870 restaurants and room to grow, Checkers & Rally’s is a proven brand with flexible building formats that is aggressively expanding across the country. Checkers & Rally’s is dedicated to being a place where franchisees and employees who work hard can create opportunity for themselves, their families, and their communities. In recent years, the brand has been awarded several of the industry’s most prestigious awards including: Ranking #140 on Entrepreneur’s 2018 Franchise 500, Top Food and Beverage Franchise by Franchise Business Review, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Best Franchise Deals, “Best Drive-Thru in America” by QSR Magazine, the “Hot! Again” award from Nation’s Restaurant News, and “#1 Most Craveable Fries” by Restaurant Business. For more information about franchise opportunities with Checkers & Rally’s, please visit www.checkersfranchising.com.
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