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 Downtown Baton Rouge SONIC Franchise Prototype Opens

America’s Drive-In experiments with new restaurant design adapted for urban environment

Here at SONIC, we’re proud to say that innovation has been a part of our company from day one. Our founder, Troy Smith, started a tradition of innovation when he made the decision to install speakers in the drive-in stalls of the burger stand that would eventually become SONIC. Today, we continue Troy’s commitment to innovation, leveraging new technologies to create the best customer experience possible.

That’s why we’re excited to highlight the opening of a new SONIC franchise prototype in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This new location, located in the heart of downtown Baton Rouge, differs from our traditional drive-in franchise design. In order to better serve customers in a dense urban area, this prototype location forgoes drive-in stalls in favor of a larger indoor dining area and a double drive-thru window.

SONIC Franchise Expansion

According to Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, the new design was a strategic decision on the part of franchisee Larry Tucker, who owns more than twenty SONIC franchises. “With all the traffic in and out of downtown they thought this concept would work well at that location,” says Donnie Jarreau, who developed the site. Larry’s decision is a great example of how to locate a SONIC franchise for maximum revenue and sales volume.

“America’s Drive-In is proud to work with innovative franchisees like Larry Tucker,” says Lori Osley, Senior Director of Franchise Sales/Development Marketing. “SONIC couldn’t continue its innovation without the support of franchisees willing to experiment with new concepts. This goes to show that much of the best innovation is franchisee-driven, since dedicated franchisees know their markets better than anyone.”

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 where 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.

New restaurant prototype continues SONIC’s strong tradition of innovation

As America’s Drive-In has entered the 21st century, we’ve found more ways than ever to use technology to offer our customers the best QSR experience in the industry. For example, the introduction of POPS (point of personalized service) has allowed us to offer customized menu suggestions to guests based on their order history. And this summer, we’ll also test mobile ordering at select locations, giving customers even more control over the already distinctive SONIC experience.

All of these technological innovations, of course, serve our larger mission of providing our guests with made-to-order hot food, delicious drinks and frozen treats, all with the best customer service in the business. Unlike other QSRs, SONIC is a destination dining experience, a place where people from all walks of life gather to celebrate everyday special moments from morning until night. With innovations such as our new Baton Rouge prototype location, we aim to bring enjoyment of the SONIC experience to even more customers.

SONIC offers franchisees a variety of franchise models to fit their needs

SONIC Franchise ExpansionSONIC understands that our franchisees operate in as many markets as there are communities across America. Because of that, we offer a diverse range of franchise models to help our franchisees provide guests with the best experiences possible. Whether it’s the traditional drive-in that built our company’s foundation, the indoor dining model to help serve guests in colder climates or bold new innovations like the Baton Rouge prototype, SONIC has a model designed for your market.

The introduction of this new prototype in Baton Rouge represents exciting potential for serving communities in areas where traffic patterns and building density make one of our traditional drive-ins impractical. We’re excited to see where things go with this concept, and we bet it’s yet another hallmark of SONIC’s bright future.

Become part of SONIC’s innovation-driven growth

There has never been a better time to open a SONIC Drive-In franchise. We offer a QSR investment with remarkable momentum driven by three things: leadership from our exceptional franchise support team, a diverse menu that maximizes all five dayparts and increased brand recognition generated by our popular national Two Guys advertising campaign.

SONIC is growing across the country, and we still have available territories throughout the United States. Franchisees continue to join the SONIC family, which means no matter where our customers go, they’ll find a SONIC restaurant and feel at home. That’s just one of the many factors driving more than 3 million customers to our drive-in restaurants each and every day.

The franchise fee for a single unit is $45,000, with a total estimated investment for a traditional SONIC ranging from $1.07 million to $2.36 million (excluding land). The net worth of a partner can be used toward the total net worth/liquidity requirements, which helps ease cash flow for your opening. The term of a traditional SONIC franchise is 20 years, plus a 10-year renewal.

Learn more about SONIC franchise opportunities

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

Why Now Is a Great Time to Invest in SONIC

SONIC Drive-In ownership easier for investors due to low interest rates

SONICIf you are looking for a franchise with unprecedented brand recognition and pent-up national demand, now is a great time to invest in a SONIC® franchise. The U.S. Federal Reserve continues to keep interest rates at record lows, making it easier to bring our iconic American drive-in to your community.

SONIC has great potential as a long-term investment for seasoned operators who are well-versed in franchise systems or for experienced business owners who want to diversify their portfolios. Our company is focused on growth, aiming for 1,000 new locations over the next decade. SONIC is backed by visionary leadership, robust national advertising power and tier-one brand operational excellence.

2 Guys SDI Launch Image_1000px“It really is a fantastic time to open a SONIC franchisee. We have a best-in-class franchise support team that works with you every step of the way, strong brand equity and recognition even in markets where we have not yet opened thanks to our successful Two Guys national advertising campaign,” says Lori Osley, Senior Director of Franchise Sales/Development Marketing.

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, we believe in excellent customer service and developing core relationships with customers and the communities where our franchise owners operate. We are in the middle of a major nationwide expansion, capitalizing on a series of historic revenue increases — and joining SONIC makes more sense than ever.

From Discovery Day to opening day, we help franchisees succeed

Our corporate franchise support team is here to assist every step of the way. Once potential franchisees speak with Lori and go through the proper application channels, they are invited to attend Discovery Day at our Oklahoma City headquarters.

“Discovery Day is critical for potential franchisees,” Lori says. “We are a relationship brand, so we want to make sure we start that relationship on that first day.”

Prospective franchisees meet with SONIC’s core group of decision makers, from our real estate and construction team to our technology and operations teams. This is a big investment, and we want to ensure it is the perfect fit.

Once financing is approved, it typically takes 6 to 8 months to get a SONIC site secured. Construction and buildout of your restaurant takes an additional three months, depending on the area. We provide help throughout the process, analyzing critical factors such as demographics and traffic, to make the entire site-selection and construction process as stress-free as possible for franchisees.

Meeting the requirements to become a SONIC franchise owner

We are a brand with growth momentum. SONIC franchise owners saw average gross sales-by-store increase from $1,072,000 in 2012 to $1,246,000 in 2015, with more than 23 percent of our stores exceeding $1.5 million in gross sales in fiscal year 2015.

SONIC franchise owners must meet several specific requirements. In addition to total net worth of $1 million, a variety of attributes make an ideal SONIC franchisee: strong business acumen, restaurant experience and/or franchise experience, preferably as a multi-unit operator, and active involvement in their local community.

The franchise fee is $45,000, with an total estimated initial investment for a traditional SONIC ranging from $1.02 to $1.77 million, exclusive of land costs. The net worth of a partner can be used toward the total net worth/liquidity requirements. The term of a traditional SONIC franchise is 20 years plus a 10-year renewal.

Learn more about SONIC franchise opportunities

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