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SONIC Franchise FAQ

Answers to the most commonly asked questions about joining the SONIC family

Are you interested in opening a SONIC® franchise in your community? We’re looking for passionate and experienced entrepreneurs to join our operating family. Here are some answers to common questions about the SONIC Drive-In opportunity, which we believe is the strongest in the QSR space as well as a close-knit family of franchisees passionate about our iconic and innovative brand.

FAQ Page

What is SONIC looking for in a franchisee?

Besides the financial ability to open a SONIC, a variety of attributes make the ideal SONIC franchisee: strong business acumen; restaurant experience and/or franchise experience, preferably as a multi-unit operator; a people person; and someone deeply involved in their local community.

Learn about the fast food franchise cost to open a SONIC and cut the ribbon yourself!
How do I qualify financially?

You must have liquid assets of approximately $500,000 and a total net worth of $1 million to qualify to open one to two units.

What type of agreements does SONIC offer?

SONIC offers a traditional 20-year term, plus a 10-year renewal.

How much does a typical SONIC cost to open?

The franchise fee for opening a SONIC Drive-In is $45,000, with a total 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.

What fees will I pay?

The franchise fee to open a SONIC is $45,000.

Does SONIC designate franchise territories by location or by area?

It depends on the market. We offer single-store and multi-unit opportunities.

Am I required to reside in or near the area I am interested in developing for a SONIC franchise?

Yes. Either you or the operating partner must reside in the market in which you are operating.

Will SONIC assist me in finding an ideal location for my franchise?

We have a development department at our corporate headquarters, which provides real estate professionals to help evaluate a site of your choosing and review the demographic and population mix to determine site viability. We also offer referrals with architects, engineers and general contractors to help you develop your location.

How much real estate do I need for a drive-in franchise?

2/3 to 1 acre of land is needed depending on the number of stalls and setbacks.

How many employees do I need?

A SONIC Drive-In generally employs about 25 employees, including full-time and part-time workers. Management staff consists of the manager and two assistant managers.

Sonic-Beach-Homestead
Does SONIC offer financing?

SONIC does not offer direct or indirect financing and will not guarantee your note, lease or other obligation. SONIC maintains a preferred provider list of lenders. We are listed on the Franchise Registry list as an approved SBA-Franchise.

How much money will I make?

We’ve increased our same-store sales dramatically due to innovative menu items, our highly visible national advertising campaign and state-of-the-art support systems that help our franchisees drive larger margins. Our average gross sales per store have increased five years in a row, rising from $1,072,000 in 2012 to $1,283,000 in 2016.

The net profit for each store may vary depending upon size and location and your business ability and efforts. Additionally, Financial Performance Representations can be found in Item 19 of our Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). This document will be provided to you once you register on our website and speak to one of our franchise team members.

What kind of franchise support does SONIC provide?
  • A comprehensive operations/field training program
  • HR training program — retention tools and resources such as access to online hiring management system tools, online/onsite recruitment materials and onboarding/performance management tools
  • Staff selection training — training on how to attract, select and hire the right applicants
  • Ongoing support from experienced operations, marketing and real estate professionals
  • A national purchasing program to provide efficiencies and optimize economies of scale
  • Product innovation and insights teams that create and track products our customers crave
  • Architectural, construction and engineering consultation and assistance
  • National media coverage via one of the most successful year-round national advertising campaigns in the QSR industry
  • Marketing materials such as radio and TV commercials, newspaper ads, direct mail, coupon books, promotional posters and signage that can be customized for your location
How long does it usually take to open a store?

It typically takes six to eight months to secure a site. Once site selection is complete and construction and build-out begin, it takes an average of 12-18 months to open your SONIC Drive-In franchise. (Restaurants in Southern states typically require a shorter length of time.)

What type of training does SONIC offer?

SONIC offers a 12-week training program that includes eight weeks of restaurant training, three weeks at new store openings and one week of classroom training. Prior to your grand opening, your general manager must be in place and fully trained. All SONIC general managers are certified at a certified training store.

What products do you sell?

At SONIC we maximize all five dayparts across our BLADE strategy — featuring a strong breakfast, lunch, afternoon, dinner and evening. We sell breakfast food, including breakfast burritos and Breakfast Toasters, and our lunch and dinner items include made-to-order hot and fresh burgers, hot dogs, corn dogs, tots and French fries. In addition, we have a thriving frozen treat and fountain drink business. Our drinks, shakes, slushes and ice cream business accounts for nearly 40 percent of our revenue.

How important is community involvement?

Some of our most successful SONIC franchisees are deeply invested in their local communities. SONIC’s heritage was not only founded on great food and friendly service, but also steeped in being part of the community. It’s not just the right thing to do; it’s good business. SONIC operators don’t consider community involvement a sales gimmick or a public-relations ploy. They see it as a way to be a good neighbor and to have a positive impact on their communities. Their efforts may include awards to encourage young children to read and incentives to keep older children in school. They also might provide opportunities for fundraisers for school projects or other means of assistance for events in the community.

How does SONIC support community initiatives and philanthropic efforts on a corporate level?
limeade for learning

For more than 15 years, SONIC’s community giving programs have been geared toward advancing education and educational opportunities for Oklahoma youth ages 4-22. To further extend our commitment to education, each fall SONIC conducts its largest annual fundraising effort supporting teachers’ projects across the nation — Limeades for Learning.

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