VALDOSTA – Checkers & Rally’s franchisee John Lewis from Lake Park was awarded Franchisee of the Year Best of the Best award at the annual Checkers & Rally’s conference in Chicago last week.
“My goal since I started way back in 1998 was to take the worst Checkers store in the brand chain and become recognized on the national level of being the very best at what we do,” Lewis said. There are currently close to 900 Checkers restaurants in the U.S. “I’ve been doing the same thing every year – build the perfect team. We work very diligently to do that, building a culture around our business and work to reach common goals.”
Lewis worked wonders on the Valdosta Checkers but after attending an annual conference in 2015, sitting with a table full of highly successful franchisees who had all won big awards, he wanted to shoot higher. He began implementing corporate metrics to his daily grind and nailed a big win this year as a result. Since then he has had double-digit sale increases.
“We were already giving great service,” Lewis said, adding, “But we pushed it more and followed the corporate model. We got a 100 on our health scale. We are white-gloved twice yearly and pass in high 90s. We also work on speed of service and use drive-thru timers, and updated every piece of equipment over those same three years – every piece of equipment you can give your team to become better, we’ve replaced. I believe in people. I sell hamburgers but I build people.”
His next goal? To have his General Manager of 14 years, Felice Dennard, win top honors at next year’s President’s Club Cruise, which will go to Amsterdam and St. Petersburg.
“We have a Family Serving Family philosophy,” Lewis said, who employs between 25-35 at his Valdosta Checkers location . “My general manager of 14 years is Felice Dennard. She is also a Top Ten General Manager for the country and #1 in our book. We were honored to receive the 2018 Franchisee of the Year last week at our national convention in Chicago. We took over a failing Checkers in 1998 and applied our basic principles of quality product, great service and exceptional team members. Over the last several years we have consistently ranked in the top five nationally. We are very thankful to all the people who have contributed to our success along the way: employees, customers and some outstanding media professionals who are also friends.”