With nearly 50 years of experience in the food service industry, 65-year-old Fred Kaufman is dedicated to providing his customers with the best experience possible. Coming out of retirement in 2009 to return to the world of fast-food, Kaufman has now opened two Rally’s restaurants in Indiana with the Checkers/Rally’s
brand. He has aggressive expansion plans in store for the Indianapolis area, expecting to add two dozen of the burger restaurants north and south of the city.
Hailing from Chicago, Kaufman made the move to downstate Indiana’s metropolis of Indianapolis in 1982 and never looked back. Kaufman has seen the evolution of the fast food industry firsthand.
“I have been in the fast food industry since 1962, when I worked for 85 cents an hour at a burger restaurant called Dave’s Automatic Drive In on the west side of Chicago,” Kaufman said. “After I graduated from college I taught high school and junior college for years until I decided that I wanted to get back into the fast food business.”
This experience led Kaufman to work for a small company that eventually became a part of a very large Burger King franchise in 1974. He worked as director of operations and regional director of operations before realizing that he wanted to become a franchisee.
After that, Kaufman moved to Indy to buy seven Burger King restaurants in 1982. In the early 2000s, he sold those locations and dabbled in consulting before retiring. It didn’t take long for Kaufman to realize that retirement was not for him.
“I looked at several concepts and thought that the Checkers/Rally’s concept was the best,” Kaufman said. “I took a look at a few sandwich concepts and full-service places, but I grew up with burgers and I think no matter what people are going to continue eating burgers and fries.”
After looking at several concepts, Kaufman concluded that Rally’s was the best for him. His familiarity with burgers and confidence in the classic American fare sealed the deal. The franchise concept appealed to him because of the aid in menu development and marketing.
“At the end of the day, the experience the customer receives at the location is really up to the individual, though, because the franchisor is not there holding your hand 24/7,” Kaufman said. “Buying into the franchise is about having that experience and expertise behind you, and that’s what you’re counting on to make your business successful.”
signing on with Checkers & Rally’s, Kaufman has been building out the
Indiana and Indianapolis and has expectations of opening several locations
north and south of the city.