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New Checkers and Rally's in Manchester area attracts long lines

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

Hungry customers have waited more than 30 minutes to grab a "Big Buford" burger and milkshake from the newly opened Checkers and Rally's Drive-In.

The burger shop opened Nov. 19 in East Manchester Township, and since then customers have clamored to the location, causing the owner to bring traffic controllers to the area to guide customers.

"We've been extremely busy," said Donald Zeigler, owner of the restaurant. "As we get more experience, I can tell a difference pretty much every day. They're coming together more as a team."

Checkers owner Don Ziegler stands in an outdoor dining area at the East Manchester Township restaurant Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. The drive-thru eatery opened Nov. 19. Bill Kalina photo

Checkers and Rally's, located at 4315 N. George St., offers a variety of burgers, chicken, fish and dairy dessert options. 

Zeigler, who lives in Conewago Township, said he fell in love with the Checkers brand after frequent visits to a Maryland location. He and his son, Thomas, visited the headquarters in Florida in 2019 and started working on establishing a location in York County.

There are more than 600 Checkers locations in 25 states. It's known for its drive-thru-only style of service, according to its website.

Though COVID-19 delayed the opening by a few months, Zeigler said things have been running smoothly.

Zeigler has been well established as a business owner in York County for more than 40 years, owning and operating a Shrewsbury Township beer distribution business, Case & Keg.

Currently 40 employees work at the East Manchester Township Checkers, and the restaurant is still hiring to fill a few additional positions, Zeigler said.

Sandwich-maker Dakota Strugh makes a Smoky BBQ Bacon Buford at the new Checkers drive-thru restaurant in East Manchester Township Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. The eatery opened Nov. 19. Bill Kalina photo

Individuals interested in applying can visit www.checkers.com to fill out a job application.

Dale Knepper, who ordered a couple of burgers during his lunch break Tuesday, said he's already visited the new location a couple of times.

"I was excited because I like Checkers," Knepper, of Conewago Township, said. "It's different than McDonald's."

At most Checkers locations, there is no dine-in service available. This includes East Manchester Township's location, which has a drive-thru line and a walk-up window. 

Knepper, who decided to order from the window at the front of the burger restaurant, said he prefers how Checkers prepares the food versus other fast food chains.

Directional Traffic employees Kayla Burkhard and Roman Tusten, left, fortify a wind-blown gate at the new Checkers drive-thru restaurant in East Manchester Township Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Drive-thru traffic at the restaurant has spilled onto North George Street Extended facilitating the need for the traffic service. The eatery opened Nov. 19. Bill Kalina photo

"It's just cool. I'm glad they're here, and I hope they do well," he added. 

Knepper isn't the only one who's craving burgers and fries from the new burger chain.

Customers daily have piled up on North George Street for a taste of greasy goodness, prompting Zeigler to coordinate traffic control with Chambersburg-based Directional Traffic. 

"We appreciate all the support from the community," Zeigler said. "I think in the next few weeks we'll be able to serve people in a much more expedient fashion."

Checkers and Rally's Drive-In is open from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.