Thursday, May 23, 2024

History Of Checkers Drive-In & Its Mobile Alabama Roots

Checkers Drive-In is a fast-food chain that has been serving up classic American fare for over three decades. Founded in 1986 by Jim Mattei and Herb Hudson, the chain has become a household name in the United States, known for its bold flavors, affordable prices, and convenient drive-thru format. In this article, we will explore the history of Checkers Drive-In and how it became the beloved fast-food chain it is today.

The Early Days of Checkers Drive-In

Checkers Drive-In was founded in Mobile, Alabama, in 1986. The restaurant was small in size, with only a handful of outdoor tables and a walk-up window for ordering. Despite its modest beginnings, Checkers quickly gained a reputation for its bold flavors and affordable prices.

The restaurant’s signature item was the “Big Buford,” a double cheeseburger that was loaded with toppings and served on a sesame seed bun. Other popular items included hot dogs, fries, and shakes, all of which were made with high-quality ingredients and served up quickly to hungry customers.

Expansion and Growth

As Checkers Drive-In gained popularity in Mobile, the company began to expand into new markets. By the early 1990s, the chain had opened restaurants in several states across the southeastern United States, including Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana.

The expansion was fueled by the chain’s commitment to quality and affordability. Checkers Drive-In offered a wide range of menu items, all of which were made with fresh ingredients and sold at prices that were lower than many of its competitors.

Checkers Drive-In Chain Rebrands

In 1999, Checkers Drive-In underwent a major rebranding effort. The company changed its name to Checkers and Rally’s, a move that was intended to help the chain appeal to a broader audience and better reflect its menu offerings.

The rebranding effort was a success, and Checkers and Rally’s continued to expand across the United States. The chain opened new restaurants in several states, including California, Texas, and New York, and continued to attract customers with its bold flavors and affordable prices.

Today, Checkers and Rally’s operates more than 900 restaurants across 28 states. The chain is known for its convenient drive-thru format, which allows customers to order their favorite menu items quickly and easily. The menu has expanded over the years to include a wide range of items, including chicken sandwiches, fish sandwiches, and loaded fries.


Checkers Drive-In has come a long way since its humble beginnings in Mobile, Alabama. The chain has grown into a beloved fast-food brand that is known for its bold flavors, affordable prices, and convenient drive-thru format. The company’s commitment to quality and affordability has helped it attract a loyal following of customers, who continue to return for their favorite menu items.

Overall, Checkers Drive-In is a testament to the power of good food and good business. By staying true to its roots and focusing on quality and affordability, the chain has become one of the most popular fast-food brands in the United States. Whether you’re in the mood for a Big Buford or a loaded fry, Checkers and Rally’s has something for everyone.

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