Based in Tampa, Fla., Checkers & Rally’s Restaurants, Inc., an iconic and innovative drive-thru restaurant chain known for its “Crazy Good Food,” exceptional value, and people-first attitude, operates and franchises both Checkers® and Rally’s® restaurants. With nearly 900 restaurants and room to grow, Checkers & Rally’s is a proven brand with flexible building formats that is aggressively expanding across the country. Checkers & Rally’s is dedicated to being a place where franchisees and employees who work hard can create opportunity for themselves, their families, and their communities. In recent years, the brand has been awarded several of the industry’s most prestigious awards including: Ranking #88 on Entrepreneur’s 2019 Franchise 500, Top Food and Beverage Franchise by Franchise Business Review, 2016, 2017, & 2018 Best Franchise Deal and “Best Drive-Thru in America” by QSR Magazine, the “Hot! Again” award from Nation’s Restaurant News, and “#1 Most Craveable Fries” by Restaurant Business. For more information about franchise opportunities with Checkers & Rally’s, please visit www.checkersfranchising.com.

Checkerboard Foods, LLC. was started by two lifelong friends, Ronald Wooten and Donnell Thompson. The two met in high school at the NC Shrine Bowl in 1976. They both went on to graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where they were part of the 1977 and 1980 ACC Championship teams. Wooten was drafted into the National Football League by the New England Patriots and Thompson by the then Baltimore, later Indianapolis, Colts. 

Checkerboard Foods owns and operates Checkers restaurants in the U.S. southeast.  Fast Foodies know the deal with Checkers/Rally’s iconic drive-thru restaurants best known for their tasty burgers and famous fries.  With over 500 stores across the U.S., Checkers/Rally’s is ranked top 50 in Franchise Business Review’s 2018 Franchise Satisfaction Awards.  Checkers acquired Rally’s in 1999, where Rally’s was predominate in the market in a number of states.  Checkers/Rally’s has the same menu items and stand by the quality and superb flavor of the food. 

Thompson and Wooten also own and operate Denny’s restaurants. Denny’s is America’s Diner where guests have come for over 60 years to sit back, relax and enjoy classic American comfort food and everyday value 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Its expansive menu features delicious, innovative options for appetizers, lunch, dinner and dessert, catering to the taste and dietary requirements of every guest that walks in the door – which makes Denny’s a great place to bring the kids and family.  Denny’s honored Operator and Partner Donnell Thompson with Developer of the Year at the 2013 Franchise Awards ceremony. 

As a progressive company, we intend to identify and develop a diverse talent pool of individuals who can be successful in the restaurant industry and specialize in the brands we represent.  One of the driving forces that will determine our success is customer satisfaction, a critical component of why we are in business. We utilize systems designed for our employees to achieve the highest quality in customer service and food production in a friendly and inviting environment.

Our company further strives for excellence in business operations, advancing restaurant industry goals by providing employment opportunities through newly established restaurants and general business and financial practices.


Donnell Thompson
Mr. Thompson has been in business for over 25 years with previous ownership of several franchises, including McDonald’s restaurants, Zaxby’s restaurants, Choice Hotels, and Marriott Hotels. His most recent franchise experience includes Denny’s and Checkers/Rally’s Restaurants. Mr. Thompson started with his first McDonald’s in 1992. He focuses on building strong management teams and is involved in all aspects of the business operations. Mr. Thompson communicates regularly with his management team and conducts frequent site visits to his business locations to ensure quality standards are maintained, customer needs are satisfied, and customer expectations are exceeded. Mr. Thompson graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, after which he was drafted by the Baltimore Colts, later becoming the Indianapolis Colts. He played in the National Football League from 1981 to 1992.  Thompson is a realtor in the state of South Carolina.  He serves as the business developer in researching potential sites for business locations and serves as operating partner.

Ron Wooten
Mr. Wooten has over 20 years of experience in managing successful, growth oriented businesses. He has expertise in business strategy, financial structuring and risk management, operational optimization and governance. He is currently the managing partner of NovaQuest Capital Management in Raleigh, NC. Mr. Wooten has over 15 years of healthcare/financing experience and most recently served as President of the former NQ business unit of Quintiles. From its formation in 2000 through November 2010, he led the NQ business unit in creating and managing unique relationships and structured finance investment transactions with more than $2 billion in gross commitments capital or services to companies of all sizes. As Executive Vice President of Quintiles, Mr. Wooten managed Quintiles’ customer-partnering arrangements worldwide. He also served on the Quintiles Board of Directors from January 2008 through November 2010. Mr. Wooten’s previous experience includes nine years with First Union Securities, where he served as a Managing Director of Investment Banking. He was also a member of the New England Patriots football team from 1981 to 1990. Mr. Wooten received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned an MBA from Boston University.