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Off-Site Construction Key To Fast-Food Restaurants' Houston Expansion

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Checkers

Checker's and Rally's are looking to build out big in Houston, and they are using modular construction to do it quickly and lower the price tag.

Over the last two years, Florida-based Checkers and Rally's have implemented prefabricated or modular construction to cut construction costs. The fast-food burger chain has found the method can lower construction cost per restaurant in Houston by more than $130K, according to the Houston Business Journal.

Using the technology, the company plans to open between 15 and 20 restaurants in the Houston area next year.

All of the new restaurants will be constructed in the Sunshine State by Valiant, a Florida-based modular construction company, HBJ reports. The 1K SF drive-thru stores will be built inside a climate-controlled, indoor warehouse. Other developers have used this method in Houston before. 

Checkers previously announced plans to open more than two dozen Houston locations, including 20 franchise locations, within a six-month period in 2017. However, based on the company's locator map, there are only eight existing Houston locations and 18 statewide. 

Multifamily, hospitals and senior housing developers have been early adopters of prefabricated construction, where various building elements can be built in a factory and then sent to a construction site.  

Modular Building Institute Executive Director Tom Hardiman told Bisnow developers looking for greater efficiency have found the method the most appealing. In an industry "very reluctant to change," there is is no turning back when it come to off-site construction.

The need for alternative construction methods is related to the rise of construction costs and unpredictable weather and timeline delays. Yet, the primary driver of the technology has been to maximize labor resources, Trammell Crow principal Jeff DeBruin told Bisnow previously. 

“I don’t think it inordinately helps speed to market. It might be more of a cost mitigator than cost saver. But any time you can prefab in a controlled setting, there’s a propensity for enhanced quality control,” he said.