The Real Reason Why Checkers And Rally's Have Two Different Names

If you're ever in the mood for a Big Buford Burger or Famous Seasoned Fries in a black-and-white cup, you have two convenient options: Checkers Drive-In or Rally's Hamburger. Though the two fast-food restaurants technically operate under different names depending on what city you're in, Checkers and Rally's have identical menus.

The reason behind this, according to the Checkers and Rally's franchising group, is simply that Checkers and Rally's started out as entirely different fast-food chains before they merged to form a single franchise. As the company website explained, the shift happened in 1999, when Checkers bought out Rally's. Though a merger would've normally meant that Rally's would be renamed Checkers, Rally's was already a recognizable enough brand that they decided to keep it as is. Since then, the food served at both Checkers and Rally's has been exactly the same, right down to its Tampa-based distributor. Confusing as it may seem, all this means is that Checkers and Rally's are only different in name.

Rally's used to belong to the parent company of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's

It may be common knowledge that Carl's Jr. and Hardee's are one and the same, but did you know that there was once a third burger chain involved, and it was Rally's? Nation's Restaurant News explained that CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, bought Rally's back in 1996. In 1997, however, Rally's faced major financial issues, with revenue dropping by 11% (via Funding Universe). "Its slide in a very difficult market needed to be reversed, but the following year there was no indication of an imminent turnaround," Funding Universe reported. 

By 1999, only three years after it was acquired by CKE Restaurants, Rally's was sold to Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Holding Company, and soon after, together Rally's and Checkers debuted their partnership with a new item, the 99-cent Chicken Sandwich, available on both menus. This was followed by a series of successful ad campaigns as well as 150 new locations. By 2001, Rally's was no longer in financial trouble, and the restaurant eventually grew into the joint food establishment we know it as today.