MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Move over, McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s, there’s a new fast food spot in town, as enterprising Westchester entrepreneurs get set to open up the county’s first Checkers restaurant in Mount Vernon.
What was once the home of House of Soul will soon be serving milkshakes, hamburgers and seasoned french fries as brothers Bishu and Chandan Sengupta prepare to open up Mount Vernon’s newest fast food eatery next month.
The brothers – who own another franchise in the Bronx near Yankee Stadium – have been in the restaurant business for more than two decades. They cited their experience with customer service and hospitality as reasons their newest location will thrive in Mount Vernon.
“The location where we’re opening the store is a busy area where people are traveling on foot and car and want to get some good, quick food,” he said. “There’s no Checkers in the area, and it’s a popular brand, so we’re opening at a perfect time.”
According to Jennifer Durham, the vice president of development for Checkers, they’ve been looking to expand into Westchester for some time. They identified several locations in the county and have been in early discussions with restaurateurs to continue rolling out other franchises in the area.
“We’ve had a real estate team go and scout several sites (in Westchester), so we have the opportunity to move pretty quickly,” she said. “There is great growth plans for Westchester County. This is a great opportunity with an open market that is certainly underserved. “
The Mount Vernon Checkers location will not feature a drive through, although it will have a small dining room for patrons. This location will be different than most Checkers, which are typically freestanding restaurants that utilize an adjoined covered patio for diners who wish to eat quickly.
Durham added that even without a drive through, the sheer volume of people who will have access to the restaurant should be a boon to both franchise owners and the community.
It is expected that Checkers will open its doors to the masses in Mount Vernon around Thanksgiving.
“What (the Mount Vernon) location lacks from its drive through, it makes up for in traffic, just look at the car and foot counts in the area,” Durham added. “We’re not a brand that focuses on growth at all costs, we work on helping our franchisees.”
As a franchisee and new business owner in the area, Sengupta said that it was important that he do more in his new community than just serve delicious food.
“As a business person, we’re always looking for opportunities, but it’s also about creating jobs for people,” he said. “That gives me more pleasure than anything else. It’s not about my own profit, it’s about bringing something for others that gives me good pleasure.”
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