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.

Customization Propels the SONIC Experience

Our unique drive-in model, carhop service and technology personalize the customer experience

SONIC chickenAt SONIC® we’ve taken a nostalgic restaurant model that conjures up memories of simpler times and paired it with modern technology, creating a personalized customer experience that no other QSR in the industry offers.

Our drive-in and carhop service model are a winning formula for SONIC, solidifying us as one of the most unique QSRs in the industry and boosting our bottom line. SONIC franchisees saw average gross sales-by-store increase from $1,072,000 in 2012 to $1,246,000 in 2015, with almost 25 percent of our stores exceeding $1.5 million in annual sales. We have leveraged new technology, such as our POPS (Point of Personalized Service) screens, to strengthen the one-on-one connection with the consumer. Add to that the unique carhop service that we have employed for decades, and you have just one more level of customization to elevate the buying experience to a memorable moment.

“We’ve always been a brand that’s focused on one-to-one connection with the consumer. That’s really what the drive-in model facilitates,” says Chief Development and Strategy Officer John Budd. “We have carhops coming to the car engaging directly with the consumer, and now we’ve laid technology on top of that so we can personalize the message at the drive-in screen to that individual consumer. Our upgraded technology, such as our POPS screens, tailors the experience to what the consumer needs, such as an offer for their favorite menu item.”

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, capitalizing on a series of historic revenue increases. Joining SONIC makes more sense than ever.

Drive-in model and carhops deliver magic no other QSR has

At SONIC our root business model is a drive-in business with carhops. Customers push a red button and the magic happens. The drive-in model gives the customer full control of their restaurant experience, allowing them to decide when they want to engage. You may have 20 stalls with 20 people all simultaneously having completely personal experiences.

At the typical competitor QSR, however, the process drives the customer — who is herded into line, forced to wait behind a counter and processed through as quickly as possible.

“No one can deliver the kind of service model that we provide. It’s a highly-personalized experience,” says Senior Vice President of Franchise Relations Eddie Saroch.

POPS system helps customers control their experience

SONIC developed POPS, the proprietary Point of Personal Service system that increases efficiencies and drives sales. Through suggestive selling and customer engagement, the touchscreen menu boards serve double duty as both a place to order food and an incredibly effective promotional medium.

ManPressingRedButton_1000pxA soccer mom craving a Breakfast Toaster at 8 p.m. can still order her morning favorite, while her kids choose burgers, tots and Cherry Limeades. Through POPS, she can see her order, know it is correct and consider any of the suggested sides and add-ons, all the while taking part in promotions and other sales campaigns.

SONIC has been an innovator since its humble beginnings of installing speakers in drive-in stalls in the 1950s.

“Technology is a way to differentiate and control the customer experience. We can identify consumers and market to their preferences individually, whether it’s through the POPS screen, their smartphone or a social media app,” says Senior Vice President of Development Drew Ritger.

Bring the SONIC franchise to your community today

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

SONIC is expanding into communities across the country, with available territories across the United States. The franchise fee for a single unit is $45,000, with a total estimated investment for a traditional SONIC ranging from $1.02 million to $1.77 million (excluding land).

Learn more about the SONIC franchise

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.