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Fast food chain Checkers & Rally's eyes Woodbury

A rendering of a Checkers restaurant that's built from reused shipping containers. (Submitted photo)

Checkers & Rally's, the fast food chain that advertises "crazy good food," plans to heavily expand in Minnesota, with its eyes set on a Woodbury location.

Though the company hasn't announced any specific openings, its franchise development director, Bruce Kim, said Woodbury is among the handful of metro locations on his radar for new stores that might open in the next two years.

Adding to its two existing stores in Brooklyn Park and St. Francis, Minn., the ultimate goal, Kim said, would be to add about 25 locations across the state in the following years. The company is currently seeking interested franchisees.

He identified Woodbury as an expansion target because of its growing population and the numerous calls and emails the company receives from customers and interested franchisees.

With likely competitor Portillo's scheduled to open its first Minnesota restaurant this summer, Kim said Checkers & Rally's selling point is its value and quick service.

"We're a value brand," he said. "For five bucks you can get a full belly."

In past years, a number of fast-food joints have distanced themselves from the greasy, fast-food image by stressing the availability of healthy menu items.

Checkers & Rally's, in contrast, makes no excuse for its menu, which includes its signature seasoned fries and its seasoned and seared burgers, like the 810-calorie burger named Baconzilla.

But "you won't find salads here," Kim said with a point of pride. "We're fast-foodies. We know who we are and who our customers are and what they want."

The chain also offers chicken sandwiches, dollar hot dogs, a fish sandwich with two stacked fillets, shakes, fried apple pie and other sweet treats.

The company is also experimenting with a new design for some of its restaurants, including one fashioned from unused shipping containers.

The design might bring down the cost of creating new restaurants since shipping containers can be bought for about $2,000, Kim said.

Though most businesses that apply to build in Woodbury are able to modify their brand's designs, Woodbury Senior Planner Eric Searles said city ordinances require retail buildings to be made up of 65 percent of either brick, glass or stone.

Other options for stores, Kim said, involve building a brick-and-mortar restaurant from the ground up or redressing a closed fast food restaurant.

Kim said a typical restaurant employes about 30 people, about seven or eight of whom are full-time managers.

Headquartered in Tampa Bay, Fla., the chain has about 850 locations nationwide, with the highest concentration in the South and in states like Florida and Georgia.

Checkers & Rally's has recently begun expanding in a number of midwestern states, including Michigan and Illinois.

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