Why Investors Should Choose SONIC Over Other Fast Service Franchises

At the core of SONIC’s business model are seven distinct themes: the drive-in experience, customization, BLADE (breakfast, lunch, afternoon, dinner and evening) five-daypart strategy, technology, innovation, advertising power and operational excellence.

The Drive-In Experience

The SONIC Drive-In experience is all about customization, control and choice. Customers enjoy fresh, made-to-order food delivered right to their comfort of their cars.


Since our humble beginnings in the 1950s, SONIC has always focused on customization and providing what our guests want from our innovative, made-to-order menu. In fact, we offer more than one million unique drink combinations.

BLADE Five Daypart Strategy

SONIC has a wide variety of menu items to attract customers across five distinct dayparts (breakfast, lunch, afternoon, dinner, evening), including the full menu all day, premium chicken, snacks, robust frozen and fountain offerings.


SONIC’s integrated technology platforms allow personalization and customization of the SONIC experience via the customer’s mobile device, whether the customer is online, on-lot or anywhere else!


SONIC has been leading the way for technology innovation from its early years, when SONIC founder Troy Smith revolutionized the ordering process by installing curbside speakers allowing customers to place orders without leaving their cars. Today, we continually look for ways to innovate and improve customer service.

Advertising Power

SONIC’s iconic Two Guys advertising campaign is one of the most successful advertising campaigns, providing instant brand recognition and unprecedented advertising muscle to SONIC franchisees on opening day and beyond. The Two Guys campaign establishes our brand even in markets where we do not yet have a physical franchise presence.

Team Assists SONIC in Securing the Right Location for Franchisees

Seeking the right place for the right price

SONIC®’s real estate team has the expertise and experience to assist with site selection for a franchise.

“They work directly with our franchisees to find new store opportunities, as well as relocation and rebuild opportunities,” says Johnny Jones, Vice President of Development and Real Estate of SONIC’s five-person development team. “Each team member represents a particular geographic area.”

For SONIC, franchise agreement license terms can range from 5 years for a non-traditional location to 20 years for a traditional location. Since a purchase or lease is binding to a franchisee for a significant length of time, decisions should be made carefully.

Finding an ideal site for a SONIC franchise

New SONIC franchisees, when beginning their work with Johnny’s team, start looking at particular real estate areas for viability. The franchisee selects the site, which must be approved by SONIC.

An ideal site for SONIC is a location with good visibility and easy access for vehicles. We also look for areas with good residential and commercial concentration that also have schools and medical buildings nearby.

When your selected sites meet those critical, initial factors, we examine even further to determine competition in the area and how the competitors are doing. Finally, it may come down to a matter of cost.

“We believe the ideal site for SONIC is a location that has the potential to result in a return on a franchisee’s investment,” says Johnny. “Our site selection process carefully examines every aspect of the purchase to assist our investors in making their decisions for long-term success.”

SONIC is America’s Drive-In®, serving more than 3 million customers a day at more than 3,500 locations nationwide. An iconic brand with a rich heritage encompassing more than 60 years, SONIC believes in excellent customer service and developing core relationships with customers in the communities where our franchise owners operate.

Learn more about SONIC franchise opportunities

For in-depth details about the SONIC Drive-In franchise opportunity, request a copy of our free franchise report. You can also learn more by visiting our research pages.

How SONIC’s Supply Chain Improves Franchisee Margins

Franchise owners see benefit to their bottom line with savings on purchases

For franchisees in the foodservice industry, food and paper costs will always be among the largest lines on their P&L statements. SONIC® is committed to managing the supply chain for our franchisees, which is helping keep costs down and ensuring our customers get the highest quality products in each of our drive-ins across the country.

“For every single category we purchase — whether it’s beef, chicken or pork products — we build out the associated contracts with the right suppliers,” explains Michele Varian, Vice President of Supply Chain and Purchasing. “We look at every single cost component that goes into that case, from inbound freight to packaging, to the actual commodity itself. We put together, if possible, long-term contracts to protect pricing, and then get into the real minutiae of managing those commodity costs. There’s an amazing amount of value that can be drawn on managing components separately, and we’re very excited about that.”

SONIC’s supply chain and distribution team helps franchise owners save on indirect purchases

Michele and her team look for areas of opportunity where SONIC can grow such as with indirect purchasing. Until recently, franchisees were not able to get the same benefit on necessary, but indirect, purchases like trash disposal. Michele’s team has been able to secure contracts for those types of costs. That means savings for franchise owners.

“We’re building purchasing strategies on waste management and used cooking oil resale,” says Michele. “By doing so, we’re pulling those expenses together, building and bringing value back to the system. If you think about indirect cost, or even food and packaging cost, any savings that we can generate fall 100% to the bottom line. So we’re thinking about those efforts through Supply Chain management as adding to the profitability of every single drive-in.”

Managing SONIC’s supply chain and distribution is like running a business within a business. When this aspect of SONIC’s overall operations is efficient, cost-effective and provides value, then the entire brand benefits, especially at the local drive-in level.

“I’m managing a $1.3 billion business inside SONIC’s total business. We run this $1.3 billion business like it’s our own company. We are making sure that we have strong business cases put into place for purchases that we are making, and we can support the franchise community with the total programs utilizing the economies of scale that we can bring together from the whole system,” says Michele.

Learn more about SONIC franchise opportunities

SONIC is America’s Drive-In®, serving more than 3 million customers a day at more than 3,500 locations nationwide. An iconic brand with a rich heritage encompassing more than 60 years, SONIC believes in excellent customer service and developing core relationships with customers in the communities where our franchise owners operate. Committed to helping our franchise owners succeed, we are in the middle of a major nationwide expansion.

For in-depth details about the SONIC Drive-In franchise opportunity, request a copy of our free franchise report. You can also learn more by visiting our research pages.

SONIC’s Franchise Restaurant Models Work in Convenience Stores and Non-Traditional Locations

Wherever people are popping by for convenience or quickness, America’s Drive-In fits right in

SONIC® has always put quality, delicious food, and top-notch customer service above everything else. As one of America’s premier QSR’s, we’re proud to be people’s go-to stop for celebrating everyday occasions. From our delicious, endlessly customizable drink menu to our fresh, made-to-order food, SONIC has something for everyone.

As we continue our nationwide expansion, we’re always looking for additional ways to bring our one-of-a-kind dining experience to new customers. One model that has us especially excited is the opening of SONICs in convenience stores and other non-traditional locations. These new sites allow us to create powerful synergies with other brands while at the same time making our food more accessible than ever.

“This push to open restaurants in convenience stores and other non-traditional locations represents an exciting new direction for America’s Drive-In,” says Lori Osley, Senior Director of Franchise Sales/Development Marketing. “Our brand has always been about creativity and adaptability, and this new restaurant model fits perfectly in that tradition. Innovations like this are yet another example of the entrepreneurial spirit that’s propelling our current national expansion.”

While the traditional drive-in continues to be at the heart of SONIC’s restaurant model, non-traditional models also figure strongly in our growth. They present new and profitable opportunities to serve markets and locations where traditional drive-in locations aren’t possible. Furthermore, combining SONIC franchises with existing and new convenience stores allows franchisees to leverage the built-in markets of other national brands.

The time is ripe to invest in a SONIC franchise, with awareness of our brand and demand for our services higher than ever. With new franchise models possible, there have never been more ways to become a franchisee.

America’s Drive-In is an adaptable, growing brand with a rich history

Here at SONIC, we’re proud of our roots. Founder Troy Smith started his humble Oklahoma hamburger stand with the goal of unmatched customer service backed by innovation. His hard work and business acumen laid the groundwork for SONIC to become the QSR powerhouse it is today.

While we’ll never lose sight of where we began, we also continue to look forward. The SONIC of today is a vibrant, innovative brand for the 21st century. We continue to invest in new technology to provide a superb, customized experience for everyone who visits our restaurants. We’re also leveraging social media to connect with our fans in more ways than ever.

As we grow our brand across the nation, we’re pushing the boundaries of what a QSR can be. Convenience store locations represent a prime example of this innovation. These stores have a built-in customer base that is already primed to buy when they walk in the door. The addition of a SONIC restaurant is a logical extension of the convenience store concept by providing a way for visitors to enjoy tasty hot food and refreshing cold drinks while they’re on the go.

America’s Drive-In has had great success partnering with existing convenience store brands to bring the SONIC experience to customers. For instance, recent co-branded locations in Oklahoma City have proven to be a smart business move for both brands. This is just one of the many synergies possible, and we’re always working with franchisees who can bring such innovation to SONIC’s strong tradition.

More ways than ever to invest in a SONIC franchise

SONIC offers its franchisees a variety of models for opening a restaurant. In addition to our traditional drive-in, we also offer models with indoor dining, counter service models perfect for convenience stores and food courts, and drive-ins especially designed for travel plazas. We can also work with franchisees to convert existing restaurants into SONIC locations. Our team of real estate and market research professionals works closely with our franchisees to choose the best location and model for their particular markets.

Convenience store locations represent an exciting new type of restaurant that meshes perfectly with SONIC’s business model. For example, the wide range of open hours at convenience stores fits well with our five-daypart menu strategy, which offers customers options for breakfast, lunch, afternoon, dinner and evening. This strategy could translate into a higher ROI for investors, keeping business steady during those parts of the day when other QSRs typically experience slumps.

sonic franchise

The model of the drive-in window also fits particularly well with convenience stores. People who go to convenience stores are busy but don’t want to compromise on quality. Attaching a drive-in allows them to get a high-quality meal, drink, or snack without having to leave the convenience and comfort of their vehicles. With SONIC’s reputation for superb food and stellar service, adding a drive-in location gives convenience store customers a QSR option they can trust.

Finally, partnering with a convenience store allows franchisees to operate in locations and markets where a traditional drive-in location might not be feasible. Whether it’s a denser urban area without the land necessary for drive-in stalls or a travel plaza that sees lots of drive-thru traffic, the convenience store model is a strong, sensible investment in many markets. Thanks to national advertising efforts like the Two Guys campaign, people in these areas know and want SONIC. All they need is a savvy, entrepreneurial investor willing to bring America’s Drive-In to them.

Learn more about SONIC franchise opportunities

For in-depth details about the SONIC Drive-In franchise opportunity, request a copy of our free franchise report. You can also learn more by visiting our research pages.

New Detroit SONIC Drive-In Restaurant Includes Indoor Dining

America’s Drive-In is a versatile franchise restaurant concept that fits any community

SONIC® Drive-In has always been a leading innovator in the quick service restaurant (QSR) industry. From founder Troy Smith’s forward-thinking decision to install speakers in SONIC’s first Oklahoma location and our recent nationwide upgrades to our point-of-personalized service (POPS) system, SONIC is always finding new ways to provide an exceptional, personalized customer experience.

That’s why we’re excited to announce that Sonic’s new franchisee in Detroit has opened Detroit’s first Sonic Drive-In restaurant. It proudly features indoor seating, which is an innovative direction that demonstrates SONIC’s ability to adapt to the different markets that we will serve as we expand our network of franchises into new, profitable territories across America.

Sonic Franchises

“We’re proud to continue expanding our one-of-a-kind QSR franchise business model to the Midwest,” says Lori Osley, Senior Director of Franchise Sales/Development Marketing. “This new location in Detroit continues our long tradition of delivering high-quality, freshly-made food from morning to night. The franchise owner’s decision to offer indoor seating shows how SONIC always does the utmost to ensure a top-notch experience that keeps customers coming back day after day.”

SONIC is in the middle of a major nationwide expansion, with the goal of opening 1,000 new SONIC Drive-In restaurants by the end of 2024. We’re building upon our rich history and iconic brand to expand our network well beyond 3,500 currently operating dining establishments. We already serve over three million customers each day, and we have a robust marketing infrastructure that creates pent-up demand and strong customer turnout as we expand into new territories. Now is a better time than ever to be a part of this expansive growth.

Although the core of our expansion will be our traditional drive-in model, we also offer our franchisees other models such as added indoor dining to fit the specific needs of their markets. Read on to find out how one franchisee in Detroit is taking advantage of this model to provide a high-quality dining experience that fits his customers’ lifestyles and local climate.

SONIC adapts to the needs of the communities it serves

As America’s Drive-In moves into the Midwest, we’re helping our new franchisees adapt their restaurants to the unique needs of local markets. In the case of places like Detroit, colder winters make indoor dining a natural choice for providing an optimal seasonal customer experience. At the same time, these franchises can add patio seating, a drive-thru and drive-thru stalls to ensure the utmost customer experience year-round.

sonic franchise infographic

We offer a range of different SONIC franchise models to fit the specific needs of the markets we serve. Whether it’s a counter-service model in a convenience store , indoor dining in Detroit or one of our time-honored traditional drive-ins, SONIC is positioned to serve communities across the nation. We work closely with our franchisees to help them choose and implement the model that’s best for the markets they serve. We conduct detailed market research and analysis to help our franchisees select models that best serve their customers to better position our franchisees for experiencing profitable investments.

Regardless of the model, our greatest goal is to give customers a memorable, quality dining experience for every occasion year round. We’re proud to be the place people choose to celebrate everyday occasions, and we will continue that tradition as we expand and innovate. Thanks to our wildly successful Two Guys advertising campaign, the demand for and awareness of our brand has never been higher[BD2] . The future for expansion is bright.

More ways than ever for customers to enjoy the food they love

SONIC customers can’t get enough of our food. With a menu that maximizes all five dayparts (breakfast, lunch, afternoon, dinner, and evening), we’re able to offer customers the food they want when they want it. For instance, we were serving breakfast all day long before it was trendy, and our Happy Hour promotion drives 23% of business. Our broad and flexible menu can translate into a higher ROI for our franchisees[LA3] , keeping business constant during times of day when other QSRs normally see less activity.

sonic franchise

Our food offerings appeal especially to millennials, who love the range of choice and customization present in our menu. Whether it’s a coney for breakfast, a breakfast burrito for dinner or one of our hundreds of thousands of drink combinations as a “just-because” treat, the versatility of our menu fits perfectly into the busy lives of millennial professionals. According to research from Morgan Stanley, 53% of millennials dine out once a week. With more than 80 million millennials in the United States,[LA4] this represents an exciting business opportunity for SONIC franchisees.

At the same time, SONIC remains a favorite option for a broad variety of demographics, from baby boomers who want a dose of nostalgia to parents who want to grab a quick bite after their children’s sports practice. We are the go-to QSR for high-quality, made-to-order food and superb service at the times of day that are right for our customers.

Learn more about SONIC franchise opportunities

For in-depth details about the SONIC Drive-In franchise opportunity, request a copy of our free franchise report. You can also learn more by visiting our research pages.

SONIC Drive-In Is a Great Fit for Your Community

America’s Drive-In aids teachers, provides a place to gather and supports local causes

SONIC®‘s heritage not only was founded on great food and friendly service, but also steeped in being part of the community. It’s good business, and it’s the right thing to do. Our founder Troy Smith knew that, and some of our most successful SONIC franchisees continue the tradition. SONIC operators don’t consider community involvement a sales gimmick or a public-relations ploy. They see it as a way to be a good neighbor and to have a positive impact on their communities.

sonic community

For more than 15 years, SONIC’s community giving programs have been geared toward advancing educational opportunities for youth and young adults ages 4-22. To further extend our commitment to education, each fall SONIC conducts its largest annual fundraising effort supporting teachers’ projects across the nation — Limeades for Learning. This shows that SONIC is an excellent fit for all kinds of communities.

“America’s Drive-In® is a business that does more than provide a destination dining experience and amazing customer service,” says Senior Director of Franchise Sales/Development Lori Osley. “We’re proud to say that SONIC locations have a positive impact on communities across the nation. Whether that’s through direct philanthropic efforts like our annual Limeades for Learning campaign, through franchisees’ support of local causes or just through providing a place that the community can gather to celebrate everyday occasions, SONIC is proud to help make communities across America better places to live, work, study and play.”

SONIC is America’s Drive-In, serving more than 3 million customers a day at more than 3,500 locations nationwide. A storied brand with a rich heritage encompassing more than 60 years, SONIC believes in excellent customer service and developing core relationships with customers and the communities our franchise owners operate. We are in the middle of a major nationwide expansion, which means that now is the time to join SONIC.

When you make the decision to bring America’s Drive-In to your community, you’ll be investing in a company that’s committed to continuing a proud tradition of community service and making a better world for future generations. Here are a few reasons to bring SONIC to your community today.

Limeades for Learning campaign thanks teachers and changes students’ lives

sonic community
SONIC owners love their communities just as much as their customers love SONIC. That’s one reason giving back is a high priority. It’s also why this year, we brought back one of our most popular community efforts from past years: Limeades for Learning, featuring the #ThanksTeach viral hashtag.

This innovative and powerful program puts SONIC front and center in the push to improve education, while also increasing community goodwill for our brand. It’s a win-win situation. As Lori Osley explains, “Limeades for Learning is a remarkably simple program, where teachers submit their learning-related projects to SONIC and the communities vote,” Lori says. “Votes are cast using #ThanksTeach on social media. The projects with the most votes win.”

This year’s #ThanksTeach was an overwhelming success, with SONIC donating more than $7.5 million to Limeades for Learning projects created by public school teachers, impacting nearly 420,000 students. This initiative helps ensure the success of teachers and students, which in turn means a better future for children across America. It’s just one of the ways that SONIC enhances communities all around the country.

SONIC provides a place for the community to gather

It seems that people today spend less and less time connecting face to face. When you bring America’s Drive-In to your community, you can help create a place for people to meet their family, friends and neighbors for the vital in-person interactions that help a community thrive. We offer a variety of franchise models to best suit your community, but all of them have one thing in common: they’re great places to hang out, catch up and celebrate life’s occasions.

Creating such a place is a crucial part of SONIC’s history. Troy Smith wanted to create a place the members of his community could gather to satisfy their hunger for food, drinks and great company. From first dates to birthdays, customers to this day still think of SONIC as a place to gather with family and friends to celebrate life’s occasions, big and small. When you bring SONIC to your community, you’ll continue this tradition of celebration and connection, helping people of all walks of life meet and relax.

sonic community

SONIC franchisees support local causes

While Limeades for Learning is our flagship philanthropic effort, our franchisees are also proud to give back to their local communities in other ways. Their efforts may include awards to encourage young children to read and incentives to keep older children in school. They also might provide opportunities for fundraisers for school projects or other means of assistance for events in the community.

Ultimately, the specific way of giving back is up to each franchisee, but when you become a SONIC franchisee, you’ll have the platform and the resources to start making that kind of difference, all the while knowing you have the backing of SONIC’s top management team and highly successful marketing efforts like the Two Guys ad campaign. We’ll support you every step of the way, and we’re excited to see what you accomplish.

Learn more about SONIC

For in-depth details about the SONIC franchise opportunity, request franchise ownership information. You can also learn more by visiting our research pages.

Customers Love SONIC and Keep Coming Back

Superb service, tasty food and the most refreshing drinks in town keep customers returning again and again

Customer satisfaction is the basis of SONIC®‘s business. From Jacksonville to Austin, we keep our guests delighted. We’ve been in business for over 60 years, and customers have loved us from the beginning. This is because we offer a destination dining experience that you can’t find anywhere else. The right blend of customer service, food and drinks bring guests back day after day, week after week, year after year.

“America’s Drive-In is a business built on one of the most loyal customer bases around,” says Senior Director of Franchise Sales/Development Marketing Lori Osley. “Our customers aren’t shy about letting us know that they love SONIC. More importantly, they’re not shy about telling their friends and family. This kind of word of mouth support perfectly complements our Two Guys ad campaign and social media marketing. The result is a brand that builds excitement wherever it goes.”

Sonic Drive-In Franchise

SONIC is America’s Drive-In®, serving more than 3 million customers a day at more than 3,500 locations nationwide. An iconic brand with a rich heritage encompassing more than 60 years, SONIC believes in excellent customer service and developing core relationships with customers and the communities our franchise owners operate. We are in the middle of a major nationwide expansion, which means that now is the time to join SONIC, as we set a goal of 1,000 new Drive-Ins by the end of 2024.

You don’t have to take our word for it that SONIC is the best stop in town for fresh, made-to-order food and refreshing drinks delivered with unmatched customer service. Just look at what these five-star Yelp reviews had to say.

SONIC customers rave about the food and drink menu

The SONIC menu is, of course, the backbone of our franchise business. Our five daypart strategy keeps sales consistent from morning to night, with our happy hour promotion driving a huge portion of business. People come from all over to get a taste. Just check out what one visitor to a Jacksonville, Florida, location said:

“Mmmmmm…. Sonic. 🙂   If you know me at all, you know how much I love Sonic! I always stop at one since I can’t get to one at home. As with all Sonic locations, my main focus is usually a Cherry Limeade. This location was awesome. I was in the area for vacation and in passing, I just had to stop here. The staff were super friendly. The cherry limeade was delicious….I’ll be back on my next visit to town!” – Ataya P.

At an Austin, Texas, location another customer couldn’t get enough of the happy hour and tasty snack items:

“Amazing food and fast service! Try the fried cheesecake bites with the tangy strawberry sauce, definitely a winner! Found out there is a happy hour from 2-4pm! Great deals.” – Danielle W.

America’s Drive-In delights with excellent service

It isn’t just about the food, though. Customer service is an area in which we’re proud to shine. Our management team works with franchisees to ensure they train their employees in the fine art of serving with accuracy, promptness and a smile. Customers have taken notice. Here’s what one Indianapolis, Indiana, guest had to say:

“5 stars for fast, attentive service and consistency. They are always very friendly and professional. It’s obvious they care about their jobs and the food they serve. A step and a half above other fast food restaurants and even some restaurants with a full-time wait staff.” – Todd R.

Another Yelp reviewer noted the attentiveness and patience of the servers at the Jacksonville, Florida, location they visited:

“The folks working at this Sonic were awesome. They were patient with our large group, and went out of their way to make sure we had everything we needed, even coming outside to see if we needed refills — twice!” – Jeanne P.

SONIC customers are repeat customers

With such a tasty, customizable menu and the service to back it up, it’s no wonder that guests visit America’s Drive-In as much as they can. One guest at a Brentwood, Tennessee, location even noted how SONIC was a key part of his formative years:

“SOOOOO incredibly awesome in every way. I came here ALL throughout my high school years. The Happy Hour deals are awesome, the food is delicious and the servers always come out with a smile. Even though I live in Boston now, where there is no Sonic, I still frequently dream of this place. When I come back to TN this is literally my first stop. After being picked up at the airport I demand to either be given a watermelon cream slush before I step foot in the car or at least be immediately taken here. What more can I say? I’d recommend basically everything on the menu!” – Matthew P.

SONIC Franchise Expansion

It doesn’t get much more enthusiastic than that, and we’re glad to know without a doubt that we’ve been keeping customers happy for so many years. If you’d like to bring a piece of that joy to your community, now is the time to bring a SONIC franchise to your town.

We’re expanding from coast to coast, and we have a franchise model to suit every demographic and location around. If you’re a passionate business owner with multi-unit franchise or business experience and strong liquidity and net worth, we’d love to have you as part of our franchise family.

Learn more about SONIC

For in-depth details about the SONIC franchise opportunity, request franchise ownership information. You can also learn more by visiting our research pages.