Bethany Clough

Rally’s wants to open 10 new restaurants in the Fresno area. Here’s where they could open

Rally’s planning to open new restaurants in Fresno area

Rally's Drive-In has six locations in Fresno and Clovis and is planning to open more.
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Rally's Drive-In has six locations in Fresno and Clovis and is planning to open more.

Up to 10 new Rally’s Drive-Ins could open in the Fresno area.

The fast food restaurant is looking at a broad area – from Merced to Visalia – for new locations over the next four or five years.

Once a new location is in the works, the company has an unusual way of constructing the drive-thrus – they bring them in four parts on the back of a truck. Keep reading for more details on that process.

The existing Rally’s in the Fresno area are doing well enough that the company wants to open more, said Robert Bhagwandat, director of franchise development for Checkers & Rally’s, which is based in Tampa, Florida.

Checkers & Rally’s were separate drive-thru restaurants that merged in 1999. In California and the Midwest, they operate under the Rally’s name. East of the Mississippi River, they operate as Checkers.

The company is looking for new franchisees willing to open Rally’s in the Fresno area and also working with existing franchisees to open more locations.

Where?

A few of the restaurants are already in the beginning stages.

An existing franchisee is in negotiations for two properties, one in Fresno and one in Clovis, Bhagwandat said. He declined to say where specifically as the deals haven’t been finalized.

If all goes as planned, the restaurants could open in February or March of 2020, he said.

The company also just purchased property for a restaurant in Merced. It is at 2049 E. Childs Ave., just across the street from Golden Valley High School.

“The kids are able to leave campus for lunch,” Bhagwandat said. “This is a great opportunity for them, having it right across the street so they don’t have to jump in their cars and go anywhere.”

That location could be open before the holidays, he said.

The company is also looking elsewhere, with Bhagwandat mentioning the area near Olive and Clovis avenues in Fresno.

“There’s a lot of great pockets around Fresno. … These are great areas to be able to put restaurants,” he said.

Rally’s has five locations in Fresno and one each in Clovis, Selma, Madera and Hanford. The restaurants are almost always drive-thru and walk-up locations with only outdoor seating. They serve a variety of food, from burgers and hotdogs to chicken wings. Their crispy seasoned fries are probably the restaurant’s most popular item, Bhagwandat said.

Building them

The restaurants, which usually have a drive-thru lane on each side of the building, are tiny. They average about 1,000 square feet.

So the company has started building them in pieces in a warehouse in Florida. Four large modular pieces are put on the back of a truck and delivered to the restaurant site. A crane comes on a separate truck and hooks them together.

“It just interconnects on the four components,” Bhagwandat said. “It’s like a Lego.”

The four pieces come with some equipment installed, like coolers, freezers, and the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system.

The modular construction speeds up the overall process, with landscaping and paving at the site happening while the pieces of the 60-ton restaurant are being built elsewhere.

“One of the biggest headaches about getting a restaurant up and going is the construction side of things,” Bhagwandat said. “It just makes the job go so much faster, and the buildings are very strong.”

Delivery day can attract a crowd.

“People catch wind of it and they want to see these things being installed. Especially for kids, they want to see these things being assembled because it’s like a big Lego block.”

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