A Month after SONIC Franchise Opens, Somerset, Massachusetts, Location Still Bringing in Crowds of Customers

New SONIC Drive-In franchise wildly successful right out of the gate as the brand ramps up for Northeast Expansion

SONIC fans in southeastern Massachusetts are lining up in record numbers to enjoy their favorite menu items from America’s Drive-In franchise. The new Somerset location, the first in the area, has been so busy, that local police have logged hundreds of hours directing traffic around it.

The Wicked Local Somerset, a local community news organization, reported on the wildly popular location in an article entitled “Somerset Sonic Drive-In still popular enough to need police details.” Here is an excerpt from the article:
Sonic Northeast Expansion
Even a month after opening day for the Somerset SONIC, orange cones still separate the take-thru, eat-in and drive-in areas of the parking lot and even line the roadway outside Sonic in Somerset. If you’ve been holding out on your chili cheese dog and tater tot craving due to the long lines at the new Sonic, you may as well just queue up when you have the time.

Police are still on detail at Sonic, 707 GAR Highway, on busy weekends when vehicles back up nearly to Stop & Shop farther west.

“For the first few weeks, we were there every day,” says Somerset Police Chief George McNeill. Since opening day on April 13, Somerset Police have put in about 400 detail hours controlling traffic at the SONIC.
Click here to read the full story.

SONIC plans to open dozens of locations in the Northeast in the coming years

The Somerset SONIC opened in April and is the first of dozens of Massachusetts locations planned over the next few years. The expansion is part of an overall strategy by SONIC to open restaurants throughout New England, which kicked off with the first SONIC in Rhode Island, which opened in October 2015.

The Somerset SONIC, launched by franchisee Douglas Stack and business partner Kevin O’Shea, has 75 inside seats, a 25-seat outdoor patio, a drive-up window and 12 carports. Stack and O’Shea, operating as Hay and Hawk LLC of Somerset, plan on opening SONIC Drive-Ins in Warwick and Providence, Rhode Island.

SONIC, America’s Drive-In, is the nation’s largest and most beloved drive-in chain, serving hot, fresh and made-to-order food for more than 60 years. We’re rapidly expanding and have available territory and ideal locations in all 50 states. SONIC is more than an iconic brand; we are a solid franchise investment focused on the future and backed by visionary leadership, robust national advertising power and operational excellence. SONIC is the nation’s largest drive-in restaurant chain, serving more than 3 million customers every day. Nearly 90 percent of SONIC’s 3,500 drive-in locations are owned and operated by franchisees. Over the past 60 years, SONIC has delighted guests with signature menu items, more than 1.3 million drink combinations and friendly service by iconic carhops.Sonic Northeast expansion

Ready to bring the SONIC Drive-In franchise to your community?

As the new location in Somerset is off to a terrific start, America’s drive-in franchise is actively seeking savvy entrepreneurs to fuel SONIC’s ambitious plans to open dozens of new locations across Massachusetts. The franchise fee for a single SONIC restaurant is $45,000, with a total investment for a traditional SONIC ranging from $1.02 million to $1.77 million (excluding land). The net worth of a partner can be used toward net worth/liquidity requirements. The term of a traditional SONIC franchise is 20 years, plus a 10-year renewal.

“If you’re interested in a 21st century brand with a rich history and track record of success, then you’ve found the right brand. SONIC has one of the most diversified daypart strategies in the industry, allowing our franchisees to maximize their assets and workforce to reach more customers throughout the day,” says Cliff Hudson, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of SONIC Corp. “With SONIC’s unit-level economics, highly differentiated brand equity and entrepreneurial spirit, we’re poised for our next level of growth.”

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.

Veteran SONIC Franchise Owner Featured in Multi-Unit Franchise Magazine

National publication spotlights longtime SONIC Drive-In franchise owner on ability to grow by focusing on quality, not quantity

SONIC® multi-unit franchise owner Ted Kergan began his career with SONIC in 1977 as general manager of the Alexandria, Louisiana, location. Today he is the largest Sonic Drive-In franchisee in the entire state. Kergan Bros. — which ranks No. 20 on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Private Companies in the region with $107 million in revenues in 2014 — now owns and operates more than 50 SONIC restaurants throughout Louisiana.

Ted Kergan Sonic Franchise

Ted shared his rise-through-the-ranks SONIC franchising success story with Multi-Unit Franchisee. In the magazine article, Ted says that his career at SONIC has been both fulfilling and fun. “At SONIC, we sell fun. We have girls on roller skates and cherry limeades. All we do has to fit into the ‘fun’ box. Our success is a combination of our food and how we serve it.”

Ted also was recognized as a company leader in 2015 when he received the Troy Smith Hall of Fame Award, presented at our annual SONIC Convention in Kansas City, Missouri.

“I’m certainly grateful for the opportunities that got me where I am today. SONIC, under the leadership of Cliff Hudson, is a great organization with great folks,” Ted says in the article.

Long-term success with the SONIC Drive-In franchise

Kergan Bros. is the largest SONIC franchise in Louisiana, employing more than 1,500 residents and making excellence a part of the company’s day-to-day operations.

Ted has a customer-first mentality when it comes to running his businesses. “I’m always upgrading the restaurants,” he says in the article. “If a unit starts looking tired, I tear it down and rebuild or refurbish it. I’m a big believer that the customers want to come into the nicest facility on the street. Not something funky — that’s like putting lipstick on a pig — but something genuinely striking. That shows respect for our customers and our employees.”

Ted gives back to the SONIC brand by serving in numerous capacities, including membership on SONIC’s franchisee advisory council. Additionally, Ted and his team give back to their communities by working with more than 250 schools across Louisiana and volunteering with nonprofit organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club and the American Cancer Society.

The level of excellence Ted founded his business on also translates to his crew. Crewmembers of Ted’s SONIC Drive-In at 3505 Monroe Highway in Pineville, Louisiana, recently were recognized as one of the best in the nation. The team took home the gold medal at the 2015 annual Dr Pepper SONIC Games, an Olympic-style competition and training program recognizing excellence.

The time is now to open a SONIC franchise in your community

While Multi-Unit Franchisee perfectly captures the inspirational narrative of Ted’s continued success as a multi-unit SONIC franchise owner, SONIC continues to thrive with plans for rapid expansion across all 50 states. SONIC is more than an iconic brand; we are a solid franchise investment focused on the future and backed by visionary leadership, robust national advertising power and operational excellence. SONIC is the nation’s largest drive-in restaurant chain, serving more than 3 million customers every day. Nearly 90 percent of SONIC’s 3,500 drive-in locations are owned and operated by franchisees. Over the past 60 years, SONIC has delighted guests with signature menu items, more than 1.3 million drink combinations and friendly service by iconic carhops.

Sonic Franchise

As the new location in Somerset is off to a terrific start, America’s drive-in franchise is actively seeking savvy entrepreneurs to fuel SONIC’s ambitious plans to open dozens of new locations across Massachusetts. The franchise fee for a single SONIC restaurant is $45,000, with a total investment for a traditional SONIC ranging from $1.02 million to $1.77 million (excluding land). The net worth of a partner can be used toward net worth/liquidity requirements. The term of a traditional SONIC franchise is 20 years, plus a 10-year renewal.

For new franchise owners, Ted offers a simple and straightforward recipe for success in the article:

“Go find somebody who does something you don’t know how to do, and follow them around,” he says. “Most people are willing to take the time if you ask them.”

To read the Multi-Unit Franchisee article in its entirety, click here.

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.

SONIC Boom: How the classic drive-in chain is adapting to the times

It’s tough stuff to stay true to your roots while adapting to the times.

we0310That is precisely the feat that SONIC Drive-In is trying to accomplish in its continued expansion from a regional darling to a national powerhouse. Certainly, such evolution has been successfully done before—just look at once-regional upstarts such as Chick-fil-A and Chipotle. But the formula for national success is not simple.

In fact, there is no formula.

That’s making life particularly interesting for John Budd, executive vice president and chief development and strategy officer at SONIC, who is overseeing the company’s brand evolution. On one hand, Budd wants SONIC to remain the same folksy but slightly off-kilter drive-in fast-food chain that made it a regional standout from its base in Oklahoma City. But on the other hand, as SONIC continues its expansion outside the South and into the Northeast and beyond, some key changes have had to be accommodated at new locations.

For example, winter weather can get nasty in the north. That’s why the chain, famous for its drive-in service and friendly carhops, is installing drive-thrus or dining rooms—or both—in many of its new stores.

This is not your grandfather’s SONIC. But, Budd says, it doesn’t exactly have to be.

“The drive-in is still at the center of the brand. But we do have to make format adaptations to make sure the brand plugs into the real estate in cooler markets.”

Even then, he insists, SONIC needs to “capture the brand essence regardless of the format.” In other words, SONIC needs to first and foremost be the place that offers more than 1.3 million different drink combos, sells burgers at breakfast, and dishes outside-the-box milkshakes like its new Creamery Shakes, which come in such oddball flavors as Bourbon Brown Sugar and Wildberry & Lavender.

At stake for SONIC is nothing smaller than its sea-to-sea future. There are 3,529 SONIC Drive-Ins in 45 states today, with Rhode Island the most recent state to welcome a location. That means there are just five states to go.

In 2014, the brand announced plans to build as many as 1,000 new stores over 10 years. While it’s strayed slightly downward from that track, SONIC still plans to add about 60 new stores over 2016 and, in the process, continue entering the digital age of fast food with everything from new point-of-sale systems and menuboards to LED lighting at stores and continued expansion of its social marketing into the worlds of Snapchat, Instagram and whatever is the next cool click.

One analyst says SONIC has the advantage of keeping ahead of the competitive pack.

“SONIC is the most innovative [quick serve] that we’ve seen,” says Will Slabaugh, managing director of Stephens Research, a financial services firm. “The heart and soul is the drive-in. But SONIC is identifiable in any format.”

As SONIC grows, the innovation seems to grow along with it. Since recently launching boneless chicken wings, chicken has broadened from 5 percent to 10 percent of SONIC sales, Budd says. And by adding the new shake line, it’s extended its shake offerings to 25 flavors. Meanwhile, its limited-time offers (like the most recent Ultimate Chicken Club) remain the envy of the industry.

But the key to SONIC’s successful expansion will be its continued appeal to Millennials, Budd says.

“Millennials are the generation that above and beyond … want to have products customized and personalized for them,” he says.

As SONIC expands, it’s looking for ways to improve. It’s upgrading its POS equipment to a cloud-based system, installing new digital menu screens in all drive-in stalls, installing LED lighting and even testing solar panels at a company-owned store in San Antonio that draws in curious customers who want to take a closer look at the panels hoisted on canopies above the parking stalls.

Even the marketing—widely viewed among the strongest in fast food—is getting a tweak. Basketball superstar Kevin Durant joined the familiar “Two Guys” in an offbeat ad campaign. While there are no plans to add more celebs, Budd doesn’t rule it out.

“We’re taking the old service model and trying to modernize it,” he says.

Original article

The Home Team: Two Oklahoma City companies partner on co-branded locations

Two Oklahoma City brands, Love’s and Sonic, are teaming up to open joint locations.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 11.17.49 AMThe new Sonic restaurants inside Love’s Travel Stops represent a new format for the Oklahoma City drive-in chain. The co-branded stores have the traditional drive-up dining stalls, as well as an indoor restaurant dining area and a drive-thru.

Love’s inherited two co-branded locations after acquiring Travel Stops that already had Sonic locations in them — in Hinton and in Memphis, Texas. Now the two companies have joined to expand the co-branded concept.

The first new Sonic/Love’s location opened Jan. 28 in Holcomb, Kan., and a second co-branded store is expected to open March 17 in Scott City, Kan.

Love’s hopes to eventually open more co-branded locations in Oklahoma, said Kealey Dorian, a spokeswoman for Love’s.

“We do have several more that are in the works,” Dorian said. “We are looking at Oklahoma. That’s something we would both aspire to.”

Love’s has more than 370 Travel Stops in 40 states and partners with 18 quick-service restaurant brands.
Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 11.17.37 AM

The company tries to choose concepts that can compete well and offer something new in the community, Dorian said.

The new Sonic restaurants at the Love’s stores are operated by local Sonic franchisees.

The co-branded restaurants offer the complete Sonic menu. The Holcomb restaurant is doing quite well, said John Budd, Sonic’s executive vice president, chief development and strategy officer.

Sonic is in “expansion mode” and partnering with Love’s was a good way for the company to bring its brand to smaller communities, Budd said.

“We saw some opportunities to join the synergy of both brands and open these new locations,” Budd said.

Original Article

Sonic Drive-In testing solar power in San Antonio

America’s Drive-In is going green, and the Alamo City has become the company’s official testing ground for rooftop solar power.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 11.24.51 AM

Work crews recently installed 90 solar panels on the roofs of three covered ordering areas at the Sonic Drive-In off DeZavala Road and Interstate 10.

Barely noticeable to the casual passer by, Sonic officials flipped the switch earlier this month, making the solar panels live and fully operational.

Sonic Corp.’s Senior Director of Facilities Wayne Brayton said the company will be watching the panels’ performance closely.

“We’re very excited to see what the results are,” Brayton said. “We have some estimates of what we’re going to save, but we’re going to be tracking it for the next six months or so to see how it compares to last year’s light bills.”

While a Sonic franchise owner in Oregon is already using solar panels to save $4,500 per year on that location’s light bill, the DeZavala restaurant is the first corporate-owned location to use rooftop solar.

Brayton said the average Sonic restaurant uses $2,000 per month in electricity and that the solar panels are expected to save up to $400 per month.

“We’ll test it here for a few months to see how it goes and then share our findings with our franchisees and see if we can’t get some of them to sign on as well,” Brayton said.

sonic-solar-2-750xx326-183-0-0Brayton said San Antonio was chosen as a test market due to rooftop solar rebates that provided an attractive price point.

While the federal government offers a 30 percent tax credit for rooftop solar, Brayton said CPS Energy, San Antonio’s municipally owned utility company, further sweetened the deal by providing an additional 50 percent rebate through a 2015 program.

Working from a list of local companies authorized by CPS Energy, Sonic chose One80 Solar as its rooftop solar installer.

Brayton said Sonic is expected to receive about $38,000 through the CPS Energy rebate alone.

“It was a good opportunity for us to try the solar panel system and save a few dollars on the install and the electric bill,” Brayton said.

Original Article

Sonic Aligns Leadership for Digital Success

Executive promotions reflect growing emphasis on technology

OKLAHOMA CITY–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ:SONC), the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants, today announced a new leadership alignment that reflects the increased integration of technology across functions and initiatives.

Appointed as president is Todd Smith, currently the brand’s chief marketing officer. With his promotion, Smith continues to serve as chief marketer for the brand, including advertising, digital consumer communications, product innovation, consumer insights and customer relationship management (CRM). Retail technology architecture and brand technology systems will now report to Smith, reflecting the integration between digital communications and CRM initiatives and the technology that powers them.

Smith joined Sonic in 2012 as vice president of marketing. Under his leadership, Sonic launched a variety of new products, including candy slushes and boneless wings, while signing the brand’s first athlete spokesperson, 2014 National Basketball Association MVP, Kevin Durant. Sonic’s proprietary digital menu technology has grown and evolved with Smith’s continued emphasis on digital communications.

Also, John Budd was promoted to executive vice president and continues to serve the brand as chief development and strategy officer. Leading the implementation of key in-store retail technologies at more than 3,500 drive-ins, Budd also assumes leadership for technology support with his promotion. Budd joined Sonic in 2013 to lead the strategy and development functions and has added supply chain as well as new point-of-sale and other technology implementation over the past two years to his Sonic portfolio.

“Technology permeates every aspect of our business,” said Cliff Hudson, Sonic CEO. “No longer can the technology organization exist in one group, and our re-alignment today signifies the realities of technology design, testing and implementation as a critical part of many key functions of the business.

“We believe that housing specific technology functions with the core business units supported by the technology will allow us to bring consumer-facing technology to market more quickly, and internally support our franchisees as they implement technology at the drive-in. I have the utmost confidence in Todd and John as they lead their respective teams and propel the brand forward.”

Also promoted to vice president and chief accounting officer is Michelle Britten, previously serving as vice president and controller. Britten has served Sonic in a variety of accounting roles since joining Sonic in 2005 as director of SEC reporting. She is responsible for all accounting and financial reporting functions, developing internal controls and coordinating the annual audit.

About SONIC, America’s Drive-In

SONIC, America’s Drive-In is the nation’s largest drive-in restaurant chain serving more than 3 million customers every day. Nearly 90 percent of SONIC’s 3,500 drive-in locations are owned and operated by local business men and women. Over the past 60 years, SONIC has delighted guests with signature menu items, more than 1.3 million drink combinations and friendly service by iconic Carhops. To learn more about Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ/NM:SONC), please visit sonicdrivein.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160129005844/en/

Sonic Corp.
Christi Woodworth, 405-225-5600
Vice President of Public Relations

Source: Sonic Corp.

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Original Article

PRESS RELEASE: CORRECTING and REPLACING CAPTION SONIC Continues California Expansion with 33 New Planned Drive-Ins

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here:
http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160104005151/en/
The release reads:

Growing brand still seeking interested franchisees in prime California markets

OKLAHOMA CITY–(BUSINESS WIRE)– SONIC® Drive-In (NASDAQ: SONC) today announced the expansion of two existing franchise agreements and the addition of two new franchise agreements for a total of 33 new drive-ins to the state of California over the next seven years. The new California drive-ins will be located in the regions of Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Central Valley and Northern California including Sacramento and the Bay Area. Beyond this planned expansion, the SONIC development team is actively seeking additional franchisees in California.

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SONIC Continues California Expansion with 33 New Planned Drive-Ins (Photo: Business Wire)

The 33 drive-ins are planned for multiple markets across the state: 11 in Sacramento; 12 in the San Francisco Bay Area; three in west Los Angeles; five between Bakersfield and Stockton and two in the Palm Springs area. All planned drive-ins should be serving customers by 2022, bringing more than 1,500 new jobs to the state over seven years. There are currently 68 open drive-ins operating in California, and this announcement brings the total of upcoming drive-ins to 101.

“As a franchise-centric brand with more than 60 years of heritage, SONIC is a smart choice for motivated entrepreneurs interested in building a business with an established, respected brand,” said John Budd, chief development and strategy officer for SONIC. “These new and existing partners in California represent some of the best in the business, with a great deal of restaurant and multi-unit experience. As we continue to seek qualified partners for the SONIC brand and in the state, these franchisees will exemplify the kind of success that comes from bringing SONIC Drive-In to previously underserved markets.”

Pacific Drive-Ins, led by Max Gelwix and Kasey Suryan, an existing and successful franchise group with multiple drive-ins in California already, signed on for 14 additional locations, expanding their footprint in Los Angeles and Sacramento over the next few years. Recent grand openings in Riverside, Calif., and San Diego were instant hits, and the ongoing success of their 10 other drive-ins led them to expand their footprint in California.

Scott McMillan, a current SONIC franchisee with 20 years of experience with the brand, signed an agreement to bring five new drive-ins to the Central Valley region, including Bakersfield, Calif., and Stockton, Calif., in the next five years. McMillan already operates 26 drive-ins in Bakersfield, Fresno and Sacramento. As a tenured and respected franchisee within the organization, McMillan has served on the SONIC Franchise Advisory Council and continues to play an integral role in brand leadership.

New franchisee Arthur D’Souza is planning two drive-ins over the next three years in the Palm Springs area, with the first location planned for Indio, Calif. D’Souza is an award winning franchisee in other systems and brings a strong connection to the Palm Springs market.

Charanjiv Dhaliwal, a new SONIC franchisee with franchise group Norcal Cajun Foods Inc., signed 12 new commitments in the North and East San Francisco Bay areas. Norcal Cajun Foods Inc. are experienced developers and restauranteurs for Popeye’s, ARCO, Twin Peaks and Black Bear Diner, who are looking to increase SONIC’s brand presence in the Northern California market.

“The expanding presence of the SONIC brand in California has been quite a success story in the past few years,” said Drew Ritger, senior vice president of development for SONIC. “The consumer demand – fueled by our national marketing campaign and the Two Guys commercials – is extremely strong in the state, and many franchise opportunities still exist for new and existing partners in Sacramento, the East Bay Area, west Lost Angeles and the Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.”

Individuals interested in pursuing a SONIC franchise are encouraged to visit sonicfranchises.com for more information on
qualifications and brand support. To schedule an in-person Franchise Discovery meeting, email sonicfranchises@sonicdrivein.com or call 1.800.569.6656.

Always a drive-in at heart, SONIC is ready to work with franchisees to find a building solution to match their needs and the needs of guests. SONIC is a franchise-centric organization with multiple long-term and legacy franchisees offering an unparalleled level of support at every stage of development. SONIC offers franchisees flexibility with multiple drive-in formats, including: the traditional drive-in model with dining stalls and a drive-thru; conversions, renovating existing restaurant buildings to create unique drive-ins; the counter service model, offering customizable footprints to fit a variety of spaces; and indoor dining formats that allow guests to experience SONIC in multiple ways – either in their cars, at the drivethru or seated at a table inside.

About SONIC, America’s Drive-In

SONIC, America’s Drive-In is the nation’s largest drive-in restaurant chain serving more than 3 million customers every day. Nearly 90 percent of SONIC’s 3,500 drive-in locations are owned and operated by local business men and women. Over more than 60 years, SONIC has delighted guests with signature menu items, more than 1.3 million drink combinations and friendly service by iconic Carhops. Since the 2009 launch of SONIC’s Limeades for Learning philanthropic campaign in partnership with DonorsChoose.org, SONIC has donated more than $5 million to public school teachers nationwide to fund essential learning materials and innovative teaching resources to inspire creativity and learning in today’s youth. To learn more about Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ/NM: SONC), please visit sonicdrivein.com and please visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. To learn more about SONIC’s Limeades for Learning initiative, please visit Limeadesforlearning.com.

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View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160104005151/en/
SONIC Drive-In
Madison LaRoche, <a href=”tel:512-542-2842″>512-542-2842</a>
Media Contact for SONIC
<a href=”mailto: Madison.LaRoche@cohnwolfe.com”>Madison.LaRoche@cohnwolfe.com</a>
or
Christi Woodworth,<a href=”tel: 405-225-5602″>405-225-5602</a>
Vice President, Public Relations for SONIC
<a href=”mailto:Christi.Woodworth@sonicdrivein.com”>Christi.Woodworth@sonicdrivein.com</a>
Source: SONIC Drive-In
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