The Atlantic:

The double drive-thru is a characteristic feature of Checkers restaurants nationwide of the last 25 years. The problem, however, is the 25,000 square feet needed to build the driveways was not always easy to find in more crowded areas, keeping the hamburger chain from getting some prime locations.

So for the Tampa, Fla.-based Checkers, necessity became the mother of invention. To increase market share, the company decreased the size of its stores, developing two new store formats and a modified version of its traditional double drive-thru to grease its expansion into denser suburban and metropolitan markets.

The shrink-to-fit business strategy is paying off. Checkers recently introduced new inline and end-cap restaurant models that can fit into spaces as small as 1,200 square feet. The new models also cost a lot less to build, making it more attractive for franchise expansion.

The numbers prove it out. The new 2,000-square-foot space designed to fit the end-cap space in a shopping center has a single drive-thru. The build-out costs for that model runs between $400,000 and $450,000 – about half of the $850,000 average build-out of the double drive-thru. A better bargain is the inline store. That build-out can cost as little as $300,000.

The lower cost will also help the corporation’s bottom line.