Weekly Feature

2017-08-02 / Business

Business brisk as first Checkers opens in Depew

by ALAN RIZZO
Reporter

Now in its third week of operation, the new Depew Checkers restaurant, located at 5752 Transit Road, is bustling with activity according to owner Amit Malik.

The Clarence resident, former owner of Charley’s Grilled Subs in Walden Galleria, said the restaurant — Checkers’ fifth in Western New York along with locations in Cheektowaga, North Buffalo and Tonawanda — is seeing hundreds of local customers coming in late on weekends and after Lancaster Speedway events.

Malik, a software developer for Fidelis Care by day, attributes the restaurant’s popularity to competitive pricing, fast service and the flavor of Checkers’ food, which is what inspired him and his wife, Meghna, to apply to be franchisees four years ago.

“Me and my wife went to Florida to take my kids to [Walt Disney World], and we tried Checkers for the first time there,” he said, noting that his wife loved a spicy chicken sandwich she had, and the whole family was impressed with the company’s take on Buffalo wings. “We all love chicken wings, and we like them hot and spicy, and they had excellent ‘Angry Buffalo’ chicken wings, which gives the perfect Buffalo hot sauce kick.”

Formerly a Dunkin’ Donuts, the new Checkers includes a drive-thru and seating for 45 people.

It currently employs 41, and will have a total staff of 55 to handle the heavy foot traffic, according to Malik, who is already looking at the possibility of opening additional locations in Lockport, Niagara Falls and downtown Buffalo.

John Palumbo, director of franchise development for Checkers & Rally's restaurants, said the company is actively looking to add franchisees in Western New York and plans to open a total of 20 locations in the region.

Palumbo said he was impressed by the Maliks’ business plan and by the energy and diligence they bring to entrepreneurship.

“Frankly, they’ve been nothing short of a joy to work with, from construction to financing to every aspect,” he said. “It’s no surprise that they’ve opened up pretty strong in that market and are looking to grow already.”

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