Want Fries with that Bankruptcy?

Fast-food franchisees that expanded by supersizing their borrowing in the 90s now face lean times thanks to slow sales and rising costs

Talk about a bad case of indigestion. In 1999, Albert J. DiMarco and three partners borrowed $15 million to open 41 Checkers & Rally's fast-food outlets across the Midwest. DiMarco certainly had the experience for the venture -- he was a former president of Checkers Drive-In Restaurants -- but he and his partners quickly found themselves overwhelmed by the $200,000 monthly payments.

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