SONIC Drive-In Franchise Leverages Technology in the New Year

America’s premier drive-in franchise leverages technology to create the most personalized customer experience in the QSR industry

Sonic Drive-in franchise SONIC, America’s premier Drive-in franchise, will make continued strides in technology in 2017 to bolster our already robust customer experience, by testing new and enhanced app features such as mobile ordering and payments. Chairman and CEO Cliff Hudson discussed these technology initiatives and more planned for the new year during a first quarter company earnings call.

Industry publication Nation’s Restaurant News spotlighted the updates, showcasing how our iconic brand is using technology to streamline and customize the already-unique SONIC experience. We will continue to leverage POPS (point of personalized service), now in use at more than 70 percent of our more than 3,500 locations nationwide, as well as test suggestive selling via POPS to custom content for SONIC fans based upon their ordering history.

“We are continually focused on how we can further optimize the consumer experience by providing much more of a customer connection with them, through targeted content that meets and suits their needs,” Cliff said during the announcement.

SONIC is America’s Drive-In®, serving more than 3 million customers a day at more than 3,500 locations nationwide. As 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 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.

Our iconic brand offers a deeply appealing nostalgia that attracts diverse customers, from millennials to moms. At the same time, we are forward thinking, using technology to improve operations and drive sales. Here is a preview of our technology updates:

Summer 2017 will herald the testing of mobile orders

Sonic Drive-in franchiseBy summer we will begin to give consumers even more control over their SONIC experience through the testing of smartphone ordering and payment options. SONIC fans will eventually be able to order their favorite real ice cream treats or one of a million drink combos from the convenience of their smart phones. Our overall Integrated Customer Engagement platform, or ICE, will result in “the most personalized customer experience in QSR,” Cliff says.

Increased use of the SONIC App will allow our brand to send customized offers, based on the patron’s order history, and drive incremental traffic in targeted dayparts and seasons. 

“Once the order is placed and paid for on their smart phone or tablet, the customer proceeds to the lot where they are recognized on the POPS screen as they pull into a stall,” Cliff explained. “The screen will then tell them where their order is in process and it will identify the carhop; it will be by name and he’s going to be bringing their food to them shortly.”

Technology helps franchisees offer hyper-local offers

“In addition to offering a more robust consumer app, we are also testing store segmentation and suggestive selling through POPS digital kiosks in some markets. This allows SONIC to send customized offers, based on the patron’s order history, and drives incremental traffic in targeted dayparts and seasons”, Cliff says.

SONIC franchisees are already ingrained in their local communities and the use of technology will allow them to offer an even more custom experience. “Using store segmentation, for example, a customer would pull into a drive-in stall and see a message unique to the characteristics of that store or market,” Cliff says, offering the example of a special cooling beverage on a hot day in a Southern market. “As the guest begins to place that order, the order is cross-referenced with similar orders in our database that generate add-on suggestions with a good degree of relevance for whatever it might be — that daypart, that time of the year, etc.”

Technology and customization go hand-in-hand at SONIC and we continue to innovate, while embracing our iconic history.

Bring the SONIC Drive-in franchise to your community today

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 our franchise 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 cashflow for your opening. The term of a traditional SONIC franchise is 20 years, plus a 10-year renewal.

Learn more about SONIC Drive-in 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.

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