Rally’s franchisee Farida Delawalla, who owns both of the restaurant chain’s locations in Long Beach, recently was honored with a national award for her work to boost sales.
Delawalla is celebrating her 10th year with Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Inc., one of the largest chains of double drive-thru restaurants in the United States. The company operates both Rally’s and Checkers, which are theessentially the same hamburger joints — Checkers are in the Southeast and Rally’s serves the West to Midwest.
In Long Beach, Delawalla’s outdoor dining and drive-thru establishments are at 2001 Pacific Coast Highway and 3490 E. Artesia Blvd., and she owns five others in Southern California, with plans to open up to three more this year, she said.
“I’ve always been passionate about doing fast food,” she said. “I like the simplicity, good quality and value... And, as a woman-operator, I wanted to work with a family-oriented company, so that’s why I applied to be a franchisee 10 years ago.”
Delawalla, who lives in Santa Monica, took a big risk when she left her career in accounting to train at the Checkers headquarters in Florida, learning how to perform every duty running a restaurant would require.
The risk was worth the reward, she said, noting that she started off with four locations and quickly added on three more, taking on the Long Beach storefronts in 2012.
This past year, Delawalla’s seven restaurants (out of a total of more than 850 across the country) showed the most growth in sales across the chain, earning her special recognition from the company.
She credits the boost in sales largely to the Long Beach restaurant on Pacific Coast Highway, where she recently completed some major improvements. New there is an enormous, bright-red Rally’s sign with a marquee advertising special deals. She also adding more lighting and welcomed the city’s move of a bus station stop in front of the business.
Delawalla said she’s maintained a hands-on approach to her businesses, working closely with her employees whenever possible and making sure they feel like family. Her own family is often around, too, with her children having helped out through the years and her husband also involved in the business.
Checkers and Rally’s Director of Franchise Development Robert Bhagwandat said what has made Delawalla so successful this past decade has been that hands-on approach.
“She is constantly visiting her stores and her staff to ensure they have a great working environment to work in… In a competitive market like Los Angeles, this has been a critical component,” Bhagwandat said. “Consumers are taking notice of Farida and the Rally’s brand in the Long Beach market.”
He said the company plans to keep growing its presence in Southern California, expecting Rally’s to one day add as many as 200 more restaurants to meet increasing customer demand for the value brand.