Indigestion At Checkers

Slow times for Checkers Drive-In Restaurants' fast-food business. The Clearwater (Fla.)-chain announced on Mar. 14 it is scaling back expansion plans to 200 from 260 restaurants this year. It has laid off 40 employees and expects to post a first-quarter loss. Checkers sizzled in the early 1990s with fast service and low prices at its double-drive-through restaurants. But value pricing by fast-food giants like McDonald's and Burger King and a renewed emphasis by those chains on basic fare has eroded Checkers' edge. The chain will also swap, lease, or sell restaurants with Louisville-based Rallys' Hamburgers, allowing each company to consolidate share in their respective markets.