SONIC is Bringing Back Vintage Favorites

America’s Drive-In revitalizes classic menu with fan favorites like Pancake on a Stick while introducing innovative new slushies and other items

SONIC MenuSONIC® is always looking for ways to innovate while remaining true to our roots. Our company was born out of innovation, like when our founder, Troy Smith, placed speakers in the drive-in stalls of the very first SONIC location. Over the years, a lot has changed, but one thing that hasn’t is our commitment to the delicious, made-to-order menu items that make SONIC, America’s Drive-In® an unforgettable dining experience.

When you’re a brand that’s been in business for over 60 years, you develop a fanbase that spans generations, with everyone from Grandma to Junior turning out to gather, eat and celebrate. A bit of nostalgia inevitably accompanies this long history, with guests associating “the good old days” with their memories of SONIC.

Consequently, when we decide to revive a vintage favorite like Pancake on a Stick, customers take notice. The response to this new item has been extremely enthusiastic, with publications like Fortune, Business Insider and Brand Eating taking notice.

“The customer and media response to the return of Pancake on a Stick has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Lori Osley, Senior Director of Franchise Sales/Development Marketing. “Pancake on a Stick epitomizes SONIC’s commitment to providing a new generation of millennial consumers with dining options to fit their mobile lifestyles. At the same time, the Pancake on a Stick also appeals to long-time customers with its nostalgic, vintage associations.”

Simultaneously, we continue to innovate. We recently introduced the new Ice Cream Slush, which features SONIC’s Real Ice Cream added to any classic Slush flavor. With this new item, customers now have more ways than ever to enjoy our delicious frozen treat offerings.

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.

SONIC offers tasty food options to fit customers’ mobile lifestyles

Customers can’t stop raving about SONIC’s diverse, delicious, endlessly customizable menu options. We prepare every item fresh to ensure the utmost quality, while at the same time offering a destination dining experience that gives customers the chance to grab a quick bite or gather to celebrate life’s everyday occasions. This winning combination has kept customers coming back for generations.

Our menu is the result of over 60 years of history and innovation. That’s why we’re excited to announce that Pancake on a Stick, a past fan favorite, is making a comeback at local drive-ins. This irresistible breakfast mashup is a breakfast sausage link wrapped in a warm, fluffy pancake and served on a stick with a side of sweet, maple syrup.

“Our Pancake on a Stick is the ultimate breakfast combination, with a pancake wrapped around a savory sausage, that’s perfect for guests on the go,” said Scott Uehlein, Vice President of Product Innovation and Development at SONIC. “The new Breakfast Deals, including the Pancake on a Stick, give guests the chance to customize their morning with a variety of their favorite breakfast items.”

The SONIC menu maximizes five dayparts to keep revenues consistent

The SONIC menu is like nothing else in the QSR space. While other QSR franchises typically experience “slumps” in business during the late afternoon and late evening, SONIC’s menu is specially designed to ensure consistent sales throughout all five parts of the day. We call this the BLADE strategy (Breakfast, Lunch, Afternoon, Dinner, Evening), and it’s one of the keys to SONIC’s steady year-over-year sales growth.

SONIC Menu

What’s more, the sheer diversity of our menu options means that there’s something for everyone no matter what the time of day. Whether it’s a busy white-collar worker who needs a portable breakfast before work, a construction worker looking to grab a filling lunch or a soccer mom who wants to grab her kids a frozen treat after a sports practice, America’s Drive-In is there to meet the need.

The new Ice Cream Slush is a perfect example of this multiple daypart strategy. Adding this item to our SONIC Nights promotion is just one more reason for customers to come to SONIC at night, helping to keep sales volume up when other QSR franchises are practically empty.

“By offering such a variety of craveable, one-of-a-kind ingredients mixed into our rich, creamy Real Ice Cream, our guests are able to have a new Shake experience every night of the week for half price,” said Scott Uehlein. “This year, we added the new Ice Cream Slush, marrying our tangy, famous, real fruit Slush flavors with Real Ice Cream, making SONIC the perfect place to socialize with your friends and family at an unbeatable price.”

America’s Drive-In is the perfect fit for your local community

Just as SONIC’s menu has something for every customer’s need, SONIC also has a concept to fit communities both big and small. We offer a variety of franchise models that work everywhere from a busy travel plaza to an all-American small town. Wherever you are, there’s likely a franchise opportunity that works for you.

SONIC is in the midst of a major expansion push, with particular interest in bringing our brand to the Midwest and Northeast. At the same time, there is still plenty of room for growth in our core territories. What matters most is that you’re a savvy entrepreneur who knows your local community better than anyone. If this sounds like you, we’d love you to become part of the SONIC franchise family.

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.

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.

How SONIC’s National Buying Power Benefits Franchisees

America’s Drive-In leverages over $1.2 billion national buying power to optimize operational efficiency, raise brand awareness and achieve steady sales growth

SONIC's Buying PowerWhen you decide to start a new business venture, you want to make sure you’re investing your hard-earned capital in a way that minimizes potential risks and maximizes potential revenue. If you decide to invest in a SONIC® franchise, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve chosen a brand that will use its large national buying power to help your new franchise thrive.

With a national purchasing power of over $1.2 billion, SONIC is a QSR powerhouse. We leverage our substantial purchasing power to spread awareness of your franchise, all while optimizing operational efficiency to keep costs low. Consequently, America’s Drive-In® continues to see year-over-year growth in average sales, making now an exciting time to invest in a SONIC franchise.

“America’s Drive-In is in a time of substantial growth and expansion,” says Lori Osley, Senior Director of Franchise Sales/Development Marketing. “We’re moving beyond our core territories and turning our sights to the still largely untapped markets on the East and West coasts. As we expand, we’re using our 10-figure national buying power to create demand for our brand even in markets where we have no physical presence. At the same time, we’re using unit-level economics to keep costs down and sales high. We remain committed to serving unmatched food and beverage options backed by superior customer service and a ‘destination’ dining experience.”

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 of history, 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.

If you decide to join us in this expansion push, you’ll have our superstar brand and massive purchasing power behind you the whole time, making your investment a smart QSR franchise pick.

SONIC optimizes unit-level economics for maximum efficiency

At SONIC, we’re all about helping you maximize your investment. One way we do this is to optimize unit-level economics, leveraging our national buying power and closely analyzing individual store sales to continually improve efficiency. Furthermore, our franchise leadership team is unmatched, and our teams work collaboratively to maximize efficiency and profits across all facets of the business. Having such a team behind you is essential to making your franchise venture a model of excellence.

SONIC's Buying Power

National buying power of over $1.2 billion helps us control costs system-wide. In addition, SONIC’s purchasing department works closely with marketing and innovation teams to ensure every SONIC restaurant has 100-percent availability of the right product at the best costs. As a franchisee, this level of support lets you focus on other activities such as managing your teams and building business relationships in your community.

Large advertising budget and innovative marketing create pent-up demand for SONIC in growth territories

While the foundation of SONIC’s business model is creating a destination where customers can enjoy quality, fresh food and beverages with exceptional service, we also support these core efforts with a marketing engine that’s second to none.

We use our national cable advertising campaign, which is a large portion of our $200 million annual marketing budget, to achieve automatic brand recognition in geographic regions that are not yet home to SONIC. This means people are excited about your franchise before you decide to open the doors; and when you do open the doors, you’ll have customers eagerly waiting.

What’s more, advertising campaigns such as our wildly successful Two Guys appeal especially to millennials, who make up the largest group of consumers in the United States with a total population of 80 million. According to research from Morgan Stanley, 53 percent of millennials eat out once a week, which represents a substantial market your SONIC franchise can serve.

America’s Drive-In uses substantial purchasing power to achieve steady sales growth

SONIC’s commitment to operational excellence, backed by our national purchasing power and brand recognition, have helped us achieve steady growth. We experienced five consecutive years of growth from 2012 to 2016, with average sales growing from $1.07 million to $1.28 million.

As we expand, we plan to continue this growth trend, and we’re looking for the best of the best entrepreneurs to help us realize our vision. With markets all along the East and West coast without a substantial SONIC presence, as well as core markets with plenty of room for growth, a SONIC franchise represents one of the most exciting potential investments in the contemporary QSR space.

SONIC is a great fit for both communities big and small, with the potential for locations in all different kinds of markets. We offer a menu that maximizes sales across all five dayparts, keeping revenue steady at times of the day when other QSR franchises typically see business slumps. Every step of the way, we’ll support you with an industry-leading training program designed to set new franchises up for success.

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.