Drive-In Checkers to Open at The Mix Student Apartments This Summer

Projected to cost $500,000, construction on the approximately 1,500 square-foot structure will hopefully begin in March
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Well, the pandemic has been good to at least two parties—The Falcons Group, which has acquired a 22nd Checkers location, and the burger-hungry GSU undergrads at The Mix that will be served at the upcoming 120 Piedmont Avenue NE drive-in.

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Projected to cost $500,000, construction on the approximately 1,500 square-foot structure will hopefully begin in March, according to franchise management network CEO Shamsu Charania. Forty-five days to two months later, he said, Checkers will be open for business (as of yet, there is no projection on how many students will attempt to assuage their morning-after queasiness with tasty, greasy food there, or whether this method even works).

“The kind of food jives really well with college students,” Charania told What Now Atlanta. “This [purchase] was measured.”

Charania’s business partner Ali Chunara, who is associated with Dunkin Donuts and Stoner’s Pizza Joint at The Mix’s ground-floor “Racetrac,” reportedly made him aware of the advantageous Piedmont Avenue vacancy.

Since April, The Falcons Group acquired 16 Checkers locations that had gone bankrupt and another five via foreclosure proceedings. Unlike their prime location at The Mix, Charania said that this mass-acquisition was “just good timing and dumb luck.”

“The pandemic hit and we were acquiring [the Checkers locations],” said Charania. “At that point, we didn’t know how it would fare through the pandemic, but the way it worked out, drive-thru became king and the sales just took off.”

In December, The Falcons Group opened a Checkers location at 2198 West Broad St. in Athens; as soon as next week, the company will open another at 10457 Tara Blvd. in Jonesboro, and yet another Checkers is in the design phase at 1716 East Oglethorpe Blvd. in Albany, Georgia.

Headquartered in Atlanta and operating businesses in six states, The Falcons Group also manages 21 Dunkin Donuts & Baskin Robbins locations and 12 iterations of TGI Friday’s.

[Editor’s note: an earlier version of this article incorrectly listed the construction costs as being $1.5 million and referred to the franchisee as The Falcon Group. We regret the error.]

Christina Coulter

Christina Coulter is an eager journalist from Connecticut with dogged tenacity and the sensibilities of a small-town reporter. Before and after graduating from Marist College in 2017, Christina covered local news for a slew of publications in the Northeast, including The Wilton Bulletin, the Millbrook Independent, The Kingston Times, The New Paltz Times and the Rockland Times. For nearly four years before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Christina was the lead reporter for The Saugerties Times, living and breathing the goings-on of the 20,000-strong Hudson Valley community. Christina weathered the pandemic in Atlanta, where she got a taste for the city's people and flavors. After a brief stint covering news in Connecticut and New York once more with The Daily Voice, Christina was taken on by What Now Atlanta and What Now Los Angeles, where she aims to unweave the intricacies of both cities' bright restaurant communities.

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