Virginia SONIC Franchisees Celebrate Planned Opening in Manassas

Two new SONIC franchise owners discuss their upcoming restaurant openings

SONIC, America’s Drive-In®, is entering new markets across the country at a rapid clip. New openings also mean that SONIC is welcoming more entrepreneurs to our continually growing franchise family.

Two of our newest franchisees, Jerome Johnson and Steven Covey, are generating a lot of buzz around their first SONIC franchise restaurant, which is scheduled to open in Manassas, Va., later this summer.

The Prince William Times, a local newspaper in Manassas, recently interviewed Johnson and Covey and the two entrepreneurs open up about the local excitement surrounding the new opening, and much, much more.

“We know how happy people are to have a SONIC in our community, and we’re really looking forward to bringing the brand’s delicious menu items to the area,” Johnson says in the article.

Due to the colder weather that hits Manassas in the winter, Johnson and Covey took advantage of SONIC’s new indoor dining model, which has SONIC’s traditional drive-in stalls and drive-thru, but also gives guests a chance to get out of the cold and enjoy their meals inside.

When Johnson and Covey needed a special permit for their drive-thru window, they received special assistance from a source that speaks to how big the demand for SONIC in Manassas truly is:

Supervisor Pete Candland, R-Gainesville, introduced the motion, saying his teenage daughter had made a special plea for his approval before the meeting.

“She said, ‘Dad, I’ve never asked you for anything before, but even if you have to raise taxes, please approve this,’” Candland joked.

As for now, Johnson and Covey are focusing on their grand opening, which they hint will happen later this year.

“There might be fireworks going on,” when the drive-in makes its debut, the article states. When asked if that was a reference to the Fourth of July holiday, Covey laughed and said, ‘Maybe!’”

We encourage you to read the entire article by clicking here.

Learn more about SONIC franchise opportunities

For in-depth details about the SONIC Drive-In franchise opportunity, download our free franchise report. You also can learn more by visiting our research pages.

SONIC Drive-In Franchise Review: Meet Chris Penjuani

Why a SONIC franchise owner in a small town in Texas is so happy about his decision to invest in America’s Drive-In®  franchise

Chris PenjuaniWhen Chris Penjuani answers the phone, you immediately understand why his new SONIC location in Robstown, Texas, has drawn a large following of regular guests after only six months of operations. Chris is one happy entrepreneur, and his energy and enthusiasm are contagious.

“We have so many people who come to us for breakfast in the morning, and visit again on the way home from work,” he says. “I love to see that. I love learning their names and what they like to eat. I love being able to suggest new things for them to try, and have them try it and love it. This business is all about the customer, and being able to provide our guests with a great experience every day makes me extremely proud.”

Robstown is a small suburb of Corpus Christi, near the Gulf of Mexico, with a population close to 12,000. SONIC thrives in small-town markets like Robstown because our brand has the unique ability to become a part of the communities we serve. This is the very reason Penjuani knew that SONIC would be a great fit in Robstown, and when he reached out to explore franchise ownership with SONIC, he even had a location already scouted.

“On my drive to work every morning, I kept passing this site right across the street from the high school and very close to the major highway. I kept thinking, ‘This is the perfect location for a SONIC,’” Penjuani says. “It’s proven to be an incredible location. Not only do the high-school students make this their hangout after school, we also have incredible traffic coming in at lunch, dinner and evenings because we’re so easy to get to and this community just really loves our food. We’ve been growing since the day we opened.”

SONIC’s ability to offer a full, five-daypart menu that serves an innovative mix of craveable, delicious food items all day long is what attracted Penjuani to the brand as a customer. As a franchise owner, he enjoys being able to share his love for SONIC’s food with his customers.

“I’ve been eating at SONIC for years,” Penjuani says. “In my opinion, and I might be biased, SONIC has the best food in the QSR segment by far. The corporate team does a fantastic job at coming up with innovative products that keep guests excited to come back. It’s very rewarding for me to recommend a new menu item to our guests and have them return and order it again.”

While Penjuani might be one of the newest members of the SONIC franchise family, he joined our brand with significant business experience. In fact, Penjuani still has a day job as co-owner and operator of several gas stations in his hometown — and like any successful entrepreneur he already is thinking about growing his SONIC business beyond his one location.

“I rush to my SONIC location every day after leaving one of my gas stations,” Penjuani says. “I’m just very excited to be there; I love being there. I have been lucky to have such a great team around me from the outset, people I really trust. The support from SONIC corporate has been outstanding, and to be honest, this is way easier and a lot more enjoyable than operating a gas station. Of course I’m hoping to grow and expand into the future.”

Learn more about SONIC franchise opportunities

For in-depth details about the SONIC Drive-In franchise opportunity, download our free franchise report. You also can learn more by visiting our research pages.

SONIC Drive-In Celebrates Development Milestone in Alaska

America’s Drive-In franchise announces multi-unit development deal in Alaska

SONIC Drive-In

SONIC, America’s Drive-In® franchise, is heading to Alaska. The iconic franchise has announced a multi-unit development deal that will see the brand putting five locations in the state in the coming years.

While SONIC has grown to more than 3,600 locations across 46 states, this is the first time SONIC has expanded out of what Alaskan residents refer to as, “The Lower 48.” This is a tremendous achievement for SONIC, as the brand recently launched an indoor dining model to serve colder markets, allowing SONIC to expand into the Midwest, Northeast and now Alaska.

The new locations will be owned by Larry Clark and Cameron Johnson, who are excited to capitalize on unmet demand for SONIC in the Alaskan market. For Clark, who grew up in the South and now lives in Alaska, owning a SONIC is something of a homecoming.

“I can’t wait to introduce my community to this brand I know and love,” he says. “I once joked with my wife that I would buy her a SONIC Drive-In after she asked for a Cherry Limeade, and later this year this will flourish into reality.”

SONIC is excited about its Alaskan expansion

Alaska is commonly referred to as The Last Frontier, and no one gets the meaning of this more than a franchise system ready to expand in the state. Franchise Times recently published an article titled “Supply Chain, Frozen Ground Challenges for First Sonic in Alaska,” which documents the new franchise owners’ process of opening their first SONIC in an icy climate.

“One of the things I’ve been working on is meetings with cold storage vendors locally so we can order adequate amounts of food so we can have it in stock,” Clark says in the article. “I’ve noticed in grand openings here, within one hour, they were out of every product they have except for soft drinks. Which causes them to go buy stuff locally.”

Making sure the new SONIC has the right amount of inventory is important — as the population in Alaska does not get a chance to frequent restaurants in the way that the majority of Americans do — simply because many brands have yet to enter the market. When Clark put his SONIC sign at his first location in Wasilla, the article reports that the “community went crazy.”

“Put the monument sign at 2 p.m. and it went viral in 20 minutes,” said Clark. “By 2:20, it was shared more than 3,000 times.”

He said that happens often in Alaska, where national brands market but generally have little or no penetration.

“Alaska is very unique, most of the QSRs have all experienced the same thing. Longer honeymoon periods for one, and people will drive hundreds and hundreds of miles for a cheeseburger,” said Clark. “Burger King, when they opened years ago, people were driving nine hours to buy 100 cheeseburgers to bring home.”

Franchise Times also reached out to Johnny Jones, vice president of development and construction with SONIC, to weigh in on why SONIC is able to open in the Alaskan market.

“SONIC started as a drive-in concept, about 20 years ago we started moving to a drive-thru,” Jones says in the article. “Then in the last 10 years, we’ve giving franchisees the option to build inside diners. We do those more in our colder markets.”

Jones is expecting that SONIC will thrive in a small market like Wasilla, as SONIC has typically thrived in smaller to mid-size markets, where the brand has the unique ability to become a part of the community it serves.

“If you look at the trade area and the town, it’s not that different from where SONIC got it roots,” Jones says in the article. “We’ve generally built in smaller communities, if you look at Wasilla, in the 5-mile radius is 30,000 people, so that’s really the bread and butter of SONIC.”

Learn more about SONIC franchise opportunities

For in-depth details about the SONIC Drive-In franchise opportunity, download our free franchise report. You also can learn more by visiting our research pages.

SONIC Drive-In Named One of the Fastest Growing Franchises for 2019

‘Entrepreneur’ magazine ranks America’s Drive-In franchise on annual list of fastest growing franchise brands

SONIC, America’s Drive-In®, has experienced a period of rapid growth over the last several years – and the industry has taken notice. Entrepreneur magazine recently named SONIC to its annual Fastest Growing Franchise list for 2019.

The annual list is intended to help entrepreneurs make a worthy investment in a rapidly growing brand:

“If you’re one of those who like things to move fast, who wants a new challenge all of the time, then maybe a fast-growing franchise is for you,” the publication explains. We’ve culled the fastest-growing franchises from Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500® and compiled a list to get you started–fast. The fastest-growing rankings are based on the number of new franchise units added in the United States and Canada from July 2017 to July 2018, as verified by Entrepreneur magazine, with ties broken based on percentage growth.”

SONIC’s high ranking position on the Fastest Growing Franchise list comes hot on the heels of Entrepreneur naming SONIC as the #3 franchise opportunity on their “Franchise 500,” list, which is widely regarded as the most prestigious list in all of franchising.

To explain why SONIC was ranked so high on the “Franchise 500,” which comprehensively measures franchise systems based on brand strength, growth, franchise support and more, Entrepreneur magazine recently published an article unpacking why SONIC is such a standout investment opportunity in 2019.

“When people talk about ‘companies of the future,’ they typically mean Silicon Valley flash — not a drive-in burger-and-shake restaurant developed in 1953,” the magazine writes. “But Sonic Drive-In believes its recipe of old-timey service marries well with modern tech, and the numbers back it up. There are now more than 3,600 Sonics in the U.S. That focus on tech and service helped propel Sonic to the No. 3 spot in the Franchise 500, up from No. 6 in 2018.”

Learn more about SONIC franchise opportunities

For in-depth details about the SONIC Drive-In franchise opportunity, download our free franchise report. You also can learn more by visiting our research pages.

SONIC Drive-In Ranked No. 3 on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500

America’s Drive-In franchise stands out as a top choice for entrepreneurs as it expands coast-to-coast

Entrepreneur magazine recently published its annual Franchise 500 list, and SONIC is pleased to announce that we are ranked as the No. 3 franchise opportunity for 2019.

SONIC is no newcomer to the Franchise 500 Top 10. Last year, SONIC earned the No. 6 slot. After a year packed with significant investments in new technology, revolutionizing customer service and rolling out new restaurant designs to grow to more than 3,600 locations in the U.S., SONIC jumped up three spots — outranking nearly all of the more than 1,000 brands that Entrepreneur considered for the Franchise 500.

Widely regarded as the most prestigious list in the franchise industry, the Franchise 500 helps entrepreneurs determine which brands are worthy investment opportunities. The publication measures brands on five key metrics: costs and fees, size and growth, support, brand strength, and financial support and stability. It is no wonder SONIC ranked so high in 2019!

“We’re incredibly proud to be ranked No. 3 on the Franchise 500 list,” says Claudia San Pedro, President of SONIC. “This validates our forward-thinking initiatives — our franchise support, new technologies, restaurant design, and innovative products are connecting with entrepreneurs who want to succeed in a SONIC franchise and helping our existing franchisees increase profitability and performance. As we continue to grow from coast to coast, we cannot wait to welcome more entrepreneurs to the SONIC family in the year ahead.”

SONIC president named to Nation’s Restaurant News’ Power List

You don’t make it to the #3 spot on the most prestigious list in franchising without having exceptional leadership at the helm — and the rest of the industry agrees. SONIC President Claudia San Pedro is on the Nation’s Restaurant News annual Power List, which “is the definitive list of people setting foodservice trends today and shaping them for tomorrow.”

San Pedro was promoted to president of SONIC in January 2018 and took the lead of the brand in December 2018 after the longtime chief executive officer and visionary leader Clifford J. Hudson stepped down. The publication praises San Pedro’s leadership of SONIC, “overseeing the drive-in brand’s $4.4 billion in systemwide sales and helping transition the company from publicly traded to private ownership under the Inspire Brands umbrella.”

Paul Brown, CEO of Inspire Brands, has high praise for her, as well: “As SONIC begins this exciting new chapter, I’m confident that Claudia will continue the brand’s strong momentum.  Claudia’s skill and vision are well respected within our industry, and I look forward to working with her to ensure that SONIC has the capabilities and resources it needs for long-term growth”

Learn more about SONIC franchise opportunities

For in-depth details about the SONIC Drive-In franchise opportunity, download our free franchise report. You also can learn more by visiting our research pages.

SONIC Drive-In Franchise Owner Review: Meet Mohammad Alaqrabawy

How an entrepreneur made the American Dream come true with the iconic drive-in franchise

Mohammad Alaqrabawy

Mohammad Alaqrabawy is an American success story. When he was a teenager with very little mastery over the English language, Alaqrabawy immigrated to the United States from Jordan and got his first job as a crew member  in a SONIC® Drive-In. Twenty-eight years later, Alaqrabawy owns 15 drive-ins in the Dallas metropolitan area, and his passion for SONIC’s food, his many employees and his community is stronger than ever.

“I came to the United States when I was 18 years old,” he says. “SONIC was my first job. I started in the kitchen, with very little English, and from day one, I just fell in love with the concept. I built my way up to be involved in the management team, then worked as a supervisor, then became a partner, and then, thank God, to become a SONIC franchisee.”

Alaqrabawy has spent his entire adult life in SONIC, and as a franchise owner, he is committed to providing opportunities for his employees, helping them to work their way up through the brand.

“To me, SONIC is not like a job,” he says. “I just enjoy the relationships and the success stories that I see. When I look at some of my employees, who started as a crew members, and work their way up through the company, that is truly amazing. This is a culture where everybody helps everybody else — and that is what I love about this brand. My example helps me a lot, because I can truly say, ‘the sky’s the limit.’ You can work your way up, like I have, from crew member all the way to franchise owner.”

While Alaqrabawy owns 15 restaurants, including a newly-opened nontraditional SONIC located inside a gas station convenience store in Dallas, he credits SONIC’s executive team for helping to make the process of opening new restaurants easy for him to achieve.

“SONIC makes opening a new restaurant so easy for us,” Alaqrabawy says. “They start offering help from day one. When I started to grow with SONIC, it was a no-brainer because we get all of the support that we need.”

One of the biggest strengths in franchising with SONIC is the remarkable level of brand awareness that the brand has throughout the nation. When Alaqrabawy is ready to open a new restaurant, he knows that his community will be excited long before he opens his doors.

“The brand awareness is amazing,” Alaqrabawy says. “With all of the national media, the television commercials, our customers already know our menu before we open a new restaurant. They’re excited when they learn that we’re going to open a new restaurant. All we have to do is open a new location, and our customers will be there.”

In the documentary clip below, watch Alaqrabawy open up about his life as a SONIC franchisee, and learn more about how this one-time SONIC crew member became an exemplar of the American Dream:

Link to video 

Learn more about SONIC franchise opportunities

For in-depth details about a SONIC Drive-In franchise opportunity, request a copy of our free franchise report. You also can learn more by visiting our research pages.

SONIC®, America’s Drive-In®, is part of the Inspire Brands® family of restaurants. Inspire is a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,300 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, and SONIC locations worldwide.

SONIC’s Franchise POS System Is Boosting Profits

The iconic drive-in franchise featured in national franchise publication for the strong results of new POS system

 

SONIC®, America’s Drive-In®, is committed to helping franchisees thrive and prosper by investing in state-of-the-art technology and the training that comes with it. To increase profits and help improve daily operations, SONIC is leading the QSR industry by providing a POS system, as well as an entire team of experts, to help franchisees in their businesses.

In a new article, “POS-itive Results! How SONIC’s POS System Boosts Profits,” published in Franchise, SONIC’s Senior Manager of System Margin Improvement Jerry Fogel writes about how SONIC combines technology and training to generate big results for franchisees.

“As a franchisor, we work to improve the SONIC experience for guests, as well as for franchisees, who own and operate more than 94% of our drive-ins,” Fogel writes. “Enabling our franchisees to run profitable businesses is mutually beneficial.”

Fogel leads SONIC’s Margin Improvement Management team (MIM), which provides intensive training to help franchisees learn how to use the POS system to its full potential. Once franchisees get accustomed to using the software properly, they quickly experience how the POS system helps to keep costs low, drive savings and increase bottom-line revenues.

“The success has been impressive,” Fogel writes. “Franchisees who have been through the MIM process have experienced significant decreases in food costs, paper costs and order voids, leading to higher profits. These higher profits are resulting in more dedicated (and happier) general managers, which in turn creates a better workplace for hourly crew members and the overall franchise organization.”

In addition to the increased profitability and a happier workplace environment, the MIM training allows franchisees to “see how small actions (burning a burger patty, wasting napkins, making guest order errors, etc.) can affect the bottom line” and also creates “more knowledgeable and business-minded general managers who are more passionate about their jobs.”

“The moral of the story is simple,” Fogel adds. “Provide the right tools for your business and ensure that you are using every capability of that tool to its fullest potential to improve performance, profits and passion in the workplace.”

Learn more about SONIC franchise opportunities

For in-depth details about a SONIC Drive-In franchise opportunity, request a copy of our free franchise report. You also can learn more by visiting our research pages.

SONIC®, America’s Drive-In®, is part of the Inspire Brands® family of restaurants. Inspire is a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,300 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, and SONIC locations worldwide.