SONIC Drive-In Franchise Conversions Save Time and Money

America’s premier drive-in franchise modifies former restaurants and businesses to spur nationwide expansion

Sonic Franchise

At 5,000 square feet, the new Buffalo, New York, area SONIC® is the largest in our system. The impressive conversion of the former Perkins restaurant and bakery into a new SONIC franchise is just one example of our robust efforts to expand efficiently by purchasing existing buildings and transforming them into profitable and thriving SONIC Drive-Ins.

Nearly two dozen conversions have been completed by franchisees to date in 2016 in states including California, Connecticut, Kansas, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Texas. This expansion method makes sense for SONIC when the existing property is ideally situated in a high-traffic area with re-branding potential. Drew Ritger, Senior Vice President of Development, recently spoke with Retail & Restaurant Facility Business magazine for a cover article that applauded our brand’s successful conversion efforts.

“SONIC is constantly working with franchisees to find building solutions that work for them and their resources, and many are finding success with building conversions,” says Drew. “Franchisees like the flexibility of location when it comes to crowded markets. A SONIC franchisee can convert an unsuccessful QS concept in a prime location and be successful.”

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 and joining SONIC makes more sense than ever as we set a goal of 1,000 new SONIC Drive-Ins by the end of 2024.

SONIC works closely with franchisees on site selection and finding building solutions that work for them and their resources. Conversions are often the perfect choice for several reasons, from cost savings to creative building configuration that takes into account local needs, such as more indoor seating in colder climates.

Conversions offer a lower investment option for franchisees

Sonic FranchiseConversions allow franchisees to take advantage of existing resources and prime real estate, which is particularly attractive in saturated markets where empty lots are scarce. In many cases, conversions may equate faster development than ground-up projects that require full construction. This translates into overall savings in investment resources as well as time.

“Our franchisees can convert an unsuccessful concept location into a SONIC Drive-In and find success because of the unique dining experience and menu offerings we provide,” Drew told the magazine.

Creative modifications ensure conversions match a community’s needs

Successful conversion of an existing building into a modern SONIC location is more than just locating an empty building. SONIC’s development team works hard to identify existing buildings, such as banks or other retail properties, that are prime candidates for conversion and also feature architectural elements that can help franchisees create a drive-in that matches the needs of the community.

“We support our franchisees in identifying appropriate real estate options for their new drive-ins and work with them in evaluating the appropriate building design,” Drew told the publication. “For example, utilizing existing garage doors that allow the indoor dining room to be opened up when the weather is nice is an especially relevant drive-in experience for locations in warm climates, like San Diego.”

Bring the SONIC franchise to your community today

There has 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 unprecedented brand recognition generated by our popular Two Guys campaign. SONIC franchisees saw average gross sales by store increase from $1,072,000 in 2012 to $1,246,000 in 2015, with almost 25% of our stores exceeding $1.5 million in annual sales, according to our 2015 FDD.

SONIC is growing across the country, and we still have available territories throughout the United States. Earlier this year, we unveiled plans to open the first SONIC Drive-Ins in Hawaii and we announced 33 new franchise stores to be developed in California, where we continue to actively seek potential franchise operators. Company leadership believes that opportunity abounds for the right entrepreneur.

More franchises are coming on board, meaning no matter where our customers go, they’ll find a SONIC and feel at home. That’s just one of the many factors driving more than 3 million customers to our drive-ins 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 $1.02 million to $1.77 million (excluding land). The net worth of a partner can be used toward the total net worth/liquidity requirements, which helps to ease costs. The term of a traditional SONIC franchise is 20 years, plus a 10-year renewal.

Learn more about 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.

 

Happy Hour(s): The Sonic BLADE and 1.5 Million Drink Combos

America’s Drive-In combines five dayparts and virtually infinite drink choices to drive sales

When it comes to a refreshing pick-me-up, customers reliably turn to SONIC Drive-In for that quick bump of caffeine in the morning, to sate their sweet tooth in the evening, or for the time-honored after-school snack. With 1.5 million unique drink choices, SONIC® customers can experience something new with each and every visit.

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“You don’t have to just do a combo meal. You can order a dessert or a frozen favorite treat. You can order a drink. You can order a snack. You can do any combination in between,” says Senior Vice President of Development Drew Ritger, who adds that the diverse options on SONIC’s menu keep customers coming back again and again. Routine visits drive sales and increase revenues.  From morning to night, customers can turn to SONIC. “That lends itself to being able to have every daypart contribute in certain ways.”

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, and joining SONIC makes more sense than ever.

SONIC’s BLADE is unique and powerful

SONIC maximizes dayparts like no other QSR in the industry, preventing an identity that is over-reliant on one particular menu stronghold. Our full menu is offered all day long, so customers get what they want when they want it, whether it’s a quick shake or piping hot Ched ‘R’ Peppers®.

Roughly 48% of business at SONIC locations comes during lunch and dinner, built around the SONIC Burger and Coney combo meals. For the remainder of the day, SONIC keeps carhops hopping through Breakfast, Lunch, Afternoon, Dinner and Evening — the five BLADE dayparts — with diverse offerings of sweets and treats.

“SONIC customers use us more broadly — rather than just breakfast, lunch or dinner,” Drew says. “BLADE gives us a great platform to use our innovation to be able to make each of those dayparts more relevant.”

Sonic Drive In Franchise

Drive-in franchise market is booming

Driven by new franchises and increased revenues, SONIC is booming. Industry analysts point out over and over again that SONIC is growing at an impressive clip with no signs of slowing down.

Same-store revenues are continuing to grow, as are the numbers of franchisees and locations across the nation. The verdict is in, and whether it’s the highly visible Two Guys advertising campaign or the community-focused Limeades for Learning social media push, customers are turning to SONIC in record numbers, making now one of the best times ever to join SONIC, America’s Drive-In.

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 .

SONIC Draws Praise from CNBC’s Jim Cramer

Our daypart strategy, nostalgic drive-in concept and promotions set us ahead of the QSR pack

SONICicecream
CNBC’s Jim Cramer, host of the hit show “Mad Money,” singled out SONIC for our highly differentiated QSR brand, noting SONIC has not wavered from quality or innovation while remaining close to our roots as the go-to spot customers head to when they’re looking to satisfy their sweet tooth or treat themselves to a maxed-out burger.

“While so many other players in the fast food business are getting pummeled…SONIC has been able to compete by offering customers quality food at affordable prices, the essence of value, and by having a drive-in concept that differentiates them from the rest of the industry and yes by being so tasty. This is a well-run company,” Jim said during his spring 2016 business spotlight on SONIC, where he voiced his optimism about the drive-in brand’s future.

SONIC continues to thrive and outshine the competition in a space crowded by “sameness” — the “Mad Money” host highlights three key areas where SONIC has a stronghold.

SONIC maximizes dayparts like no other QSR

With many U.S. consumers obsessing over calories and carbs, SONIC competitors in the QSR space have responded with menu additions that greatly differ from their brand DNA, straining credibility and price points. At SONIC we stay true to what we do best, offering the kinds of delectable foods customers desire when they want a special meal, with items like real ice cream, juicy burgers and savory onion rings. Jim adds that our menu appeals to value-conscious consumers who want to treat themselves.

Our unique five BLADE dayparts model, Breakfast, Lunch, Afternoon, Dinner and Evening, drives part of this consistency. SONIC maximizes dayparts like no other QSR in the industry, preventing a pigeonholed identity that is over-reliant on one particular menu stronghold. Instead, our full menu is offered all day long, so customers get what they’re seeking when they seek it, whether it’s a quick shake or piping hot Ched ‘R’ Peppers®. The competition has taken note.

While competitors’ new all-day breakfast menus have done well, SONIC was ahead of the trend years ago, and we’ve offered breakfast to hungry customers anytime, day or night, for many years.

Our drive-in concept offers a unique customer experience

SONIC’s unique drive-in restaurant concept sets us apart from the usual drive-thru and gives us “a real edge over every other burger joint,” according to Jim. From the minute customers arrive, they become part of an ordering process that is unique to SONIC. They pull into one of our drive-in stalls and then select their menu choices, pushing the big red button on our menu board.

That’s when the magic begins. The flashing red light builds anticipation until an engaged, courteous team member greets them a moment later. After placing their order, the excitement continues to build, driven by the excitement of other patrons, the energy of carhops, and even the colorful menus, which encourage return trips for dessert or even dinner. Then, our carhops deliver fresh and hot food to the customers, who haven’t left their cars.

Jim believes there is still tons of room for SONIC to expand nationwide. He lauds the effectiveness of the Two Guys advertising campaign, which generates significant demand across the country. “SONIC has gotten very good at building excitement for new stores,” Jim says.

Smart, long-term promotions drive sales

Jim also commended SONIC’s leadership for taking a measured, long-term approach to promotional strategies as opposed to quickie, short-term pops to drive traffic. He credits SONIC CEO Cliff Hudson for effectively predicting customer perceptions of value in the QSR space.

During a recent investor call Cliff said, “Even though we have done things that have really increased the cost of expense of products, such as going from ice milk to ice cream, we have seen consumers’ perception of value that we offer, in fact, improve over time.”

Once again, SONIC proves we have the winning strategy to differentiate ourselves, breaking away from the pack in terms of quality of products for consumers and return on investment for franchise owners.

Bring the SONIC franchise to your community today

There has 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 unprecedented brand recognition generated by our popular Two Guys campaign. SONIC franchisees saw average gross sales by store increase from $1,072,000 in 2012 to $1,246,000 in 2015, with almost 25% of our stores exceeding $1.5 million in annual sales, according to our 2015 FDD.

SONIC is growing across the country, and we still have available territories throughout the United States. Earlier this year, we unveiled plans to open the first SONIC Drive-Ins in Hawaii and we announced 33 new franchise stores to be developed in California, where we continue to actively seek potential franchise operators. Company leadership believes that opportunity abounds for the right entrepreneur.

More franchises are coming on board, meaning no matter where our customers go, they’ll find a SONIC and feel at home. That’s just one of the many factors driving more than 3 million customers to our stores 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 $1.02 million to $1.77 million (excluding land). The net worth of a partner can be used toward the total net worth/liquidity requirements, which helps to ease costs. The term of a traditional SONIC franchise is 20 years, plus a 10-year renewal.
Learn more about 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.

Customization Propels the SONIC Experience

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

At 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

 

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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.

A 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.

SONIC’s Creative Social Media Campaigns Connect with Millennial Fanbase

SONIC’s groundbreaking creative marketing increases brand awareness

In today’s technology-driven age, Sonic Drive-In’s innovative marketing campaigns, designed for increased interaction on fans’ social media channels, build brand awareness and drive sales. These popular and creative efforts feature sharable images, videos and hashtags.

“At SONIC®, our teams create one-of-a-kind content that is shareable, drives our business and solidifies the SONIC brand as among the most innovative in our space,” says President and Chief Marketing Officer Todd Smith.

From America’s Drive-In to our award-winning Two Guys campaign, SONIC consistently delivers high-visibility advertising that leaves an indelible mark on audiences and boosts the bottom line. Here are a few highlights of some of the more recent efforts.

SONIC #SquareShakes take center stage at Coachella

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We launched the #SquareShakes campaign, a one-of-a-kind product specifically designed for Instagram and our 200,000 followers on the popular image sharing network, during the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in April. The Sonic Square Shakes were served in a photogenic square container, allowing the one-of-a-kind drinks to be showcased perfectly on Instagram’s square image platform.

In addition to the unique shakes themselves, the campaign was noteworthy for its “shop on demand” integration. Through the ad placed on SONIC’s Instagram account, fans selected a shake, which was hand-delivered through geo-targeting. Upon delivery, fans paid for their shake simply by posting a picture with the hashtag #SquareShakes.

The #SquareShakes campaign drew national attention and garnered publicity for the brand in both traditional and online medial channels. Advertising industry trades called the campaign “delightful,” while social networking-driven “clickbait” sites latched on to the colorful Instagram posts in numerous viral offerings.

Leveraging digital engagement drives business

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Coachella wasn’t the only place to find innovative hashtag-driven brand marketing. This summer’s #AmazeYourMouth campaign promoting our Lemonade and Frozen Limeade drinks is another example of creative, direct-to-consumer digital engagement. Our beloved Two Guys — comedians Peter Grosz and T.J. Jagodowsky — joined numerous other actors and influencers in a series of campy, share-worthy online animated videos starring Sipsters, cartoonish characters painted around the actors’ mouths.

As SONIC increases our digital engagement strategy with personalized offers to fans and new customers through our app and menu boar
ds, brand awareness already built by the popular Two Guys campaign will continue to have a positive impact. When combined with innovative, click-driven campaigns like #AmazeYourMouth, franchisees benefit from buzz-driven brand infiltration.

“Because of our strong brand awareness with consumers, when people start getting our social media advertising and text offers they know who we are — and the messaging becomes extremely relevant. They use the offers, which keeps our sales volume high. That’s a byproduct of the national media, the Two Guys, and then the ability to take product innovation and product quality combined with the social and text offers. All this is driving business,” says Senior Vice President of Development Drew Ritger.

Now that millennials have transitioned into the largest demographic, leveraging technology to customize orders and build digital engagement will take our business to a completely different level versus our competition.

SONIC Drive-In Franchise Owners Are Meaningful Members of Their Communities

SONIC Drive-In offers a proven business model that has allowed our franchise owners to give back to their community

SONIC® is rightly called America’s drive-in franchise for a reason — with more than 3,500 locations across the United States, the iconic brand is beloved for serving up hot, fresh and made-to-order food, and also for the meaningful impact our franchise owners have in their communities.

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“Giving back to the community has elevated our business,” says Jerry and Denise Conway, multi-unit franchise owners in Texas and recipients of the Troy Smith Award. ”We don’t miss an opportunity to be part of a charity. We have a reputation as SONIC, and we are right at the forefront of every event. Just about any event in town, you’ll see the SONIC logo on it; that’s how we built our business. We were the forerunner in a lot of things going on in SONIC today, and I still think it’s the best franchise and would recommend it to anyone.”

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 franchisees saw average gross sales by store increase from $1,072,000 in 2012 to $1,246,000 in 2015, and new locations are performing at record levels — with more than 25% of our stores far exceeding $1.5 million in annual sales.

SONIC Drive-In franchise owners enjoy era of record-setting revenue growth

It’s not just marketing driving SONIC’s growth. SONIC franchises produced average gross revenues of more than $1,246,000 in 2015, as disclosed in Item 19 of the FDD. New locations are also performing at record levels, and more than a quarter of SONIC stores far exceed $1.5 million in annual sales.

At the same time, SONIC’s iconic brand image and nostalgia for the carhop experience make each SONIC franchise location a community hub. For SONIC franchisees, getting involved in the community not only makes good business sense, but also helps build the brand and foster a sense of connectedness. Additionally, it’s a pretty big way to make a real difference. For example, take the #ThanksTeach effort.

limeade for learning
In partnership with local franchise owners, school systems and the community, SONIC Drive-In has committed $15 million over the next five years to Limeades for Learning, money that will be used to fund essential learning materials and teacher development, inspiring creativity and learning in today’s youth. This kind of dedication to youth development and learning is just part of the rewarding work that comes from owning a SONIC Drive-In franchise.
“We’re part of all the civic groups and churches,” says Greg Rowden, a multi-unit franchise owner in Arkansas, noting his SONIC team once paid to build an entire baseball field. “When we see a need, we try to step in and help fulfill it.”

SONIC is rapidly expanding across the country

SONIC is growing into communities across the country, with available territories across the United States. Earlier this year, we unveiled plans to open the first SONIC Drive-Ins in Hawaii and company leadership notes opportunity abounds for the right entrepreneur. In addition, we announced 33 new franchise stores in California, where we continue actively seeking potential franchise operators.

More franchises are coming on board every day, meaning no matter where our customers go, they’ll find a SONIC and feel at home. That’s just one of the many factors driving more than 3 million customers to our stores each and every day.

“SONIC customers use us more broadly, rather than just breakfast, lunch or dinner,” says Senior Vice President of Development Drew Ritger. “It’s given us a great platform to use our innovation to make each of those dayparts more relevant. There are dollars to be spent or consumed, and SONIC is a great choice.”

Bring the SONIC franchise to your community today

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). The net worth of a partner can be used toward the total net worth/liquidity requirements, which helps to ease costs. The term of a traditional SONIC franchise is 20 years, plus a 10-year renewal.
Sonic Drive-In Franchise
“There’s a lot of geography left for us for growth in the United States. We have huge national cable exposure with our advertising now, so that in all markets we’re on television 12 months out of the year,” says SONIC Drive-In CEO Cliff Hudson. “During the next 10 years we could add up to 1,000 stores. There is a lot of open space up and down the West Coast, up and down the East Coast and in Florida and California, particularly. Even in our core markets, there are still development capabilities.”

Learn more about SONIC franchise

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

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

5 Reasons to Become a SONIC Franchise Owner

Nation’s largest drive-in franchise offers increasing revenue, balanced dayparts and open territory

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 factors: 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 franchisees saw average gross sales by store increase from $1,072,000 in 2012 to $1,246,000 in 2015, and more than 25 percent of our stores far exceeding $1.5 million in annual sales.

Sonic Franchise

“If you’re interested in a 21st-century brand with a rich history and track record of success, then you’ve come to the right place,” says CEO Cliff Hudson. “SONIC has one of the most diversified daypart strategies in the industry, allowing our franchisees to reach more customers throughout the entire day. And with SONIC’s unit economics, highly differentiated brand equity and entrepreneurial spirit, we’re on a path toward unprecedented growth.”

Here are 5 reasons to open a SONIC franchise:

1. Strong dayparts drive sales and increase ROI

The SONIC menu offers so much variety that our customers keep coming back to experience all of our five balanced and distinct dayparts. Unlike other QSR concepts that rely on one or two strong dayparts, our menu generates larger ROI for franchisees over the entire course of our 18-hour day. We start with breakfast, move into lunch, have one of our biggest dayparts in the afternoon selling ice cream and slush drinks, serve dinner and close out with a strong evening business.

“You’ve got nearly 24-hour real estate when you invest in a SONIC franchise,” Cliff says. “Utilizing the real estate, the equipment and the labor as efficiently as possible is great from an investment perspective. It’s a much more efficient operation than the typical QSR that has downtime throughout the day.”

2. Our innovation ramps up the customer experience

SONIC has embraced innovation from day one, when founder Troy Smith installed speakers in each drive-in stall and continually looked for ways to innovate and improve customer service.

SONIC’s investment in technology is building an interactive environment that will take customization to another level. Mobile ordering and payment will make it easier for our customers to order their SONIC menu favorites and we then use that customer data to deliver localized promotions tailored to customers’ buying history — straight to their mobile device.

“We’ve always been able to have something over the other big players in QSR and that is that we have a one-on-one relationship with our customers,” says Grey Simpson, a multi-unit franchise owner in Charleston, South Carolina. “We deliver their food to their car, we have the ability to check-back more like a full service restaurant, and now with the 20/ 20 Vision, we have the ability to interact with our customers through smartphone technology, and that’s really exciting.”

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3. We offer a strong franchise support network

We provide all the support needed to launch a successful SONIC Drive-In. SONIC will assist you at multiple phases of the development process — from real estate site selection to site design. SONIC provides a structured and comprehensive training program to guide franchisees through opening a new drive-in and much more. We are constantly working to evolve our training and support to assist our franchisees in all aspects of their SONIC life.

We also provide SONIC eLearning, so busy franchisees and SONIC staffers can stay on the leading edge of the industry. SONIC provides certified training courses online in topics such as operations, food safety, customer service and management for our new and existing franchisee community.
“There’s really not a single significant initiative that doesn’t have franchisee involvement and testing,” Cliff says. “SONIC is a very people-driven and relationship-driven culture. The result of this over time is that you get much greater communication, collaboration and a much higher rate of trust than you see elsewhere.”

4. Our national advertising power is at an unprecedented high

When you open a SONIC franchise, you automatically tap into the media buying power of one of the most successful QSR ad campaigns of all time. Our iconic Two Guys advertising campaign has created instant brand recognition that generates community excitement months before a new SONIC’s opening day. The Two Guys campaign resonates particularly well with millennials — a growing customer base for SONIC — who seek out a dining experience that they control and customize.

SONIC’s record brand recognition boosts media power and gives instant advertising dollar power to new restaurants in new locations.

“Since we moved to a national media approach in early 2013, we have steadily increased our share of voice in the marketplace to the point that a franchisee who opens in a new area has a national advertising campaign working for them. They will be the leading advertiser in their community,” says Chief Development and Strategy Officer John Budd.

5. The drive-in is a business model that transcends generations

At most QSRs, customers stand behind a cold and impersonal counter with other customers and wait their turn, or they approach the drive-thru menu in their car and wait their turn in a monotonous line.

At SONIC, customers park in colorful, canopy-covered spaces and push our signature red button when they are ready to order. A friendly carhop delivers made-to-order food and drinks directly to customers in their cars, which provides the comfort and familiarity of a mobile living room. The SONIC experience, which offers customization, control and choice, positions us as one of the most differentiated concepts in the QSR industry.

“We have 25 parking stalls, so in essence you can be first in line every time you dine out at SONIC,” Cliff says. “That allows us to utilize technology in a way our competition really can’t. During the next five to 10 years, as millennials all reach majority age, this is something that will take our business to a completely different level versus our competition.”

Ready to open a Sonic Drive-In franchise in your community?

The franchise fee for a single SONIC restaurant is $45,000, with a total investment for a traditional SONIC ranging from $1.02 to $1.77 million (excluding land). 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.

“We are looking for franchisees who want to be part of a family-oriented culture with a can-do entrepreneurial attitude,” John says.