SONIC’s Franchise Restaurant Models Work in Convenience Stores and Non-Traditional Locations

Wherever people are popping by for convenience or quickness, America’s Drive-In fits right in

SONIC® has always put quality, delicious food, and top-notch customer service above everything else. As one of America’s premier QSR’s, we’re proud to be people’s go-to stop for celebrating everyday occasions. From our delicious, endlessly customizable drink menu to our fresh, made-to-order food, SONIC has something for everyone.

As we continue our nationwide expansion, we’re always looking for additional ways to bring our one-of-a-kind dining experience to new customers. One model that has us especially excited is the opening of SONICs in convenience stores and other non-traditional locations. These new sites allow us to create powerful synergies with other brands while at the same time making our food more accessible than ever.

“This push to open restaurants in convenience stores and other non-traditional locations represents an exciting new direction for America’s Drive-In,” says Lori Osley, Senior Director of Franchise Sales/Development Marketing. “Our brand has always been about creativity and adaptability, and this new restaurant model fits perfectly in that tradition. Innovations like this are yet another example of the entrepreneurial spirit that’s propelling our current national expansion.”

While the traditional drive-in continues to be at the heart of SONIC’s restaurant model, non-traditional models also figure strongly in our growth. They present new and profitable opportunities to serve markets and locations where traditional drive-in locations aren’t possible. Furthermore, combining SONIC franchises with existing and new convenience stores allows franchisees to leverage the built-in markets of other national brands.

The time is ripe to invest in a SONIC franchise, with awareness of our brand and demand for our services higher than ever. With new franchise models possible, there have never been more ways to become a franchisee.

America’s Drive-In is an adaptable, growing brand with a rich history

Here at SONIC, we’re proud of our roots. Founder Troy Smith started his humble Oklahoma hamburger stand with the goal of unmatched customer service backed by innovation. His hard work and business acumen laid the groundwork for SONIC to become the QSR powerhouse it is today.

While we’ll never lose sight of where we began, we also continue to look forward. The SONIC of today is a vibrant, innovative brand for the 21st century. We continue to invest in new technology to provide a superb, customized experience for everyone who visits our restaurants. We’re also leveraging social media to connect with our fans in more ways than ever.

As we grow our brand across the nation, we’re pushing the boundaries of what a QSR can be. Convenience store locations represent a prime example of this innovation. These stores have a built-in customer base that is already primed to buy when they walk in the door. The addition of a SONIC restaurant is a logical extension of the convenience store concept by providing a way for visitors to enjoy tasty hot food and refreshing cold drinks while they’re on the go.

America’s Drive-In has had great success partnering with existing convenience store brands to bring the SONIC experience to customers. For instance, recent co-branded locations in Oklahoma City have proven to be a smart business move for both brands. This is just one of the many synergies possible, and we’re always working with franchisees who can bring such innovation to SONIC’s strong tradition.

More ways than ever to invest in a SONIC franchise

SONIC offers its franchisees a variety of models for opening a restaurant. In addition to our traditional drive-in, we also offer models with indoor dining, counter service models perfect for convenience stores and food courts, and drive-ins especially designed for travel plazas. We can also work with franchisees to convert existing restaurants into SONIC locations. Our team of real estate and market research professionals works closely with our franchisees to choose the best location and model for their particular markets.

Convenience store locations represent an exciting new type of restaurant that meshes perfectly with SONIC’s business model. For example, the wide range of open hours at convenience stores fits well with our five-daypart menu strategy, which offers customers options for breakfast, lunch, afternoon, dinner and evening. This strategy could translate into a higher ROI for investors, keeping business steady during those parts of the day when other QSRs typically experience slumps.

sonic franchise

The model of the drive-in window also fits particularly well with convenience stores. People who go to convenience stores are busy but don’t want to compromise on quality. Attaching a drive-in allows them to get a high-quality meal, drink, or snack without having to leave the convenience and comfort of their vehicles. With SONIC’s reputation for superb food and stellar service, adding a drive-in location gives convenience store customers a QSR option they can trust.

Finally, partnering with a convenience store allows franchisees to operate in locations and markets where a traditional drive-in location might not be feasible. Whether it’s a denser urban area without the land necessary for drive-in stalls or a travel plaza that sees lots of drive-thru traffic, the convenience store model is a strong, sensible investment in many markets. Thanks to national advertising efforts like the Two Guys campaign, people in these areas know and want SONIC. All they need is a savvy, entrepreneurial investor willing to bring America’s Drive-In to them.

Learn more about SONIC franchise opportunities

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

A Month after SONIC Franchise Opens, Somerset, Massachusetts, Location Still Bringing in Crowds of Customers

New SONIC Drive-In franchise wildly successful right out of the gate as the brand ramps up for Northeast Expansion

SONIC fans in southeastern Massachusetts are lining up in record numbers to enjoy their favorite menu items from America’s Drive-In franchise. The new Somerset location, the first in the area, has been so busy, that local police have logged hundreds of hours directing traffic around it.

The Wicked Local Somerset, a local community news organization, reported on the wildly popular location in an article entitled “Somerset Sonic Drive-In still popular enough to need police details.” Here is an excerpt from the article:
Sonic Northeast Expansion
Even a month after opening day for the Somerset SONIC, orange cones still separate the take-thru, eat-in and drive-in areas of the parking lot and even line the roadway outside Sonic in Somerset. If you’ve been holding out on your chili cheese dog and tater tot craving due to the long lines at the new Sonic, you may as well just queue up when you have the time.

Police are still on detail at Sonic, 707 GAR Highway, on busy weekends when vehicles back up nearly to Stop & Shop farther west.

“For the first few weeks, we were there every day,” says Somerset Police Chief George McNeill. Since opening day on April 13, Somerset Police have put in about 400 detail hours controlling traffic at the SONIC.
Click here to read the full story.

SONIC plans to open dozens of locations in the Northeast in the coming years

The Somerset SONIC opened in April and is the first of dozens of Massachusetts locations planned over the next few years. The expansion is part of an overall strategy by SONIC to open restaurants throughout New England, which kicked off with the first SONIC in Rhode Island, which opened in October 2015.

The Somerset SONIC, launched by franchisee Douglas Stack and business partner Kevin O’Shea, has 75 inside seats, a 25-seat outdoor patio, a drive-up window and 12 carports. Stack and O’Shea, operating as Hay and Hawk LLC of Somerset, plan on opening SONIC Drive-Ins in Warwick and Providence, Rhode Island.

SONIC, America’s Drive-In, is the nation’s largest and most beloved drive-in chain, serving hot, fresh and made-to-order food for more than 60 years. We’re rapidly expanding and have available territory and ideal locations in all 50 states. SONIC is more than an iconic brand; we are a solid franchise investment focused on the future and backed by visionary leadership, robust national advertising power and operational excellence. SONIC is the nation’s largest drive-in restaurant chain, serving more than 3 million customers every day. Nearly 90 percent of SONIC’s 3,500 drive-in locations are owned and operated by franchisees. Over the past 60 years, SONIC has delighted guests with signature menu items, more than 1.3 million drink combinations and friendly service by iconic carhops.Sonic Northeast expansion

Ready to bring the SONIC Drive-In franchise to your community?

As the new location in Somerset is off to a terrific start, America’s drive-in franchise is actively seeking savvy entrepreneurs to fuel SONIC’s ambitious plans to open dozens of new locations across Massachusetts. The franchise fee for a single SONIC restaurant is $45,000, with a total 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 net worth/liquidity requirements. The term of a traditional SONIC franchise is 20 years, plus a 10-year renewal.

“If you’re interested in a 21st century brand with a rich history and track record of success, then you’ve found the right brand. SONIC has one of the most diversified daypart strategies in the industry, allowing our franchisees to maximize their assets and workforce to reach more customers throughout the day,” says Cliff Hudson, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of SONIC Corp. “With SONIC’s unit-level economics, highly differentiated brand equity and entrepreneurial spirit, we’re poised for our next level of growth.”

Learn more about SONIC

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

The Home Team: Two Oklahoma City companies partner on co-branded locations

Two Oklahoma City brands, Love’s and Sonic, are teaming up to open joint locations.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 11.17.49 AMThe new Sonic restaurants inside Love’s Travel Stops represent a new format for the Oklahoma City drive-in chain. The co-branded stores have the traditional drive-up dining stalls, as well as an indoor restaurant dining area and a drive-thru.

Love’s inherited two co-branded locations after acquiring Travel Stops that already had Sonic locations in them — in Hinton and in Memphis, Texas. Now the two companies have joined to expand the co-branded concept.

The first new Sonic/Love’s location opened Jan. 28 in Holcomb, Kan., and a second co-branded store is expected to open March 17 in Scott City, Kan.

Love’s hopes to eventually open more co-branded locations in Oklahoma, said Kealey Dorian, a spokeswoman for Love’s.

“We do have several more that are in the works,” Dorian said. “We are looking at Oklahoma. That’s something we would both aspire to.”

Love’s has more than 370 Travel Stops in 40 states and partners with 18 quick-service restaurant brands.
Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 11.17.37 AM

The company tries to choose concepts that can compete well and offer something new in the community, Dorian said.

The new Sonic restaurants at the Love’s stores are operated by local Sonic franchisees.

The co-branded restaurants offer the complete Sonic menu. The Holcomb restaurant is doing quite well, said John Budd, Sonic’s executive vice president, chief development and strategy officer.

Sonic is in “expansion mode” and partnering with Love’s was a good way for the company to bring its brand to smaller communities, Budd said.

“We saw some opportunities to join the synergy of both brands and open these new locations,” Budd said.

Original Article

Sonic ramps up conversion development

Repurposed sites save costs for drive-in operator

img20151119190604420Sonic Corp. has ramped up its conversions of other commercial locations in the past year, taking advantage of both time and money savings and the ability to get high-traffic locations.

The Oklahoma City-based drive-in operator has converted former quick-service and casual-dining locations, as well as banks, Andrew “Drew” Ritger Jr., Sonic senior vice president of development, told Nation’s Restaurant News.

“You can have lower investment cost and a faster construction cycle,” Ritger said.

Conversions can shave as much as 120 days off a typical Sonic unit’s  development schedule, as well as save on the cost, he explained.

The conversions have been especially useful in the expensive real estate markets of California and the Northeast, he said.

“As we expand, we found there was an opportunity to repurpose other restaurant locations,” Ritger said. “Many times, they are on great real estate, but they had run into some conditions like the operator of the other concept got into some financial trouble or the license term or contract had ended and weren’t renewed.”

In California, Sonic has repurposed Burger King and Wendy’s restaurants. In New York, it has reconfigured former Wendy’s and Perkins Restaurant & Bakery locations. In New Jersey and New York, it has remodeled former bank buildings. And it has converted a Wendy’s unit in South Carolina and a KFC location in Cleveland.

Conversions offer a number of advantages, Ritger said. “Most of the locations already have the right conditional-use and drive-thru permits,” he said. “These are things that save the franchisee time and money.”

The largest restaurant in Sonic’s system is now in Cheektowaga, N.Y., a suburb of Buffalo, which opened November, 2015 in a converted Perkins location. It covers 5,000 square feet and seats about 80 people, and business has been brisk since the opening, Ritger said. The larger dining rooms can also provide Sonic’s signature roller-skating waiter service, he said.

Conversions allow Sonic to add patios, parking stalls and dining rooms in some areas, as well as let the brand make regional modifications. Several repurposed restaurants in California, for example, have garage-style doors so the dining room can be opened to the patio in temperate weather, he said.

“It can really speed the time it takes to go from concept to opening on project,” Ritger said. In addition, franchisees can see savings in soft costs in architectural in engineering planning, as well as in legal fees for licenses and permits.

“What we normally do is take the shell of the building, and then we convert it to our kitchen layout,” Ritger said. “Our kitchen designs can be put into just about every concept. Occasionally we have extra space for employee lockers or meeting rooms. “

The conversion format began about two years in Childress, Texas, he said, and continues “if we get a good opportunity in any location.”

Other states that have seen Sonic repurpose other restaurant locations include Alabama, Connecticut, Florida and Rhode Island. “It depends on what the opportunity is and if the franchisee believes its good real estate and a good business opportunity,” Ritger said.

The ramped up conversions also allow franchisees to accommodate increasing real estate costs, he said. “With the real estate market having a significant recovery since 2009 and 2010, conversions have offered a nice opportunity to purchase or lease real estate,” Ritger said. “Post-recession, there are number of opportunities that have come up.”

Cost savings depend significantly on site inspections, he added, and some sites will not fit into the economic model. “You have to do very good due diligence on your site inspection by your engineering and construction team, with the franchisee,” he said.

As of Aug. 31, 2015, Sonic had 3,526 drive-ins in 44 states.

Contact Ron Ruggless at
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

Original Article

SONIC® Drive-In Celebrates Opening of First Rhode Island Location

America’s Drive-In Enters 45th State with Smithfield Area Location

SMITHFIELD, R.I.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– SONIC, America’s Drive-In®, is celebrating the opening of its first Rhode Island drive-in location on Monday, October 26, 2015. Whether it’s to delight in experiencing SONIC for the first time, or to merely enjoy the delicious Real Ice Cream Shakes and Premium Beef Hot Dogs, the Rhode Island community is invited to celebrate and dive into a new flavor experience with SONIC.

The new Smithfield SONIC is conveniently located at 393 Putnam Pike by Route 44. The drive-in will be open from 7 a.m. until midnight seven days a week.

“We are thrilled to be the first franchisees to bring the SONIC experience to Rhode Island,” said Bob Bowen, franchisee of the new drive-in. “The drive-in will feature an indoor dining room to accommodate up to 70 guests, a double drive-thru and a drive-in area with 12 parking stalls for cars to pull in, offering our fans many ways to enjoy SONIC.”

The location already has eager customers arriving hoping to get their first taste of SONIC’s signature menu offerings. Once open, SONIC guests have the privilege of enjoying their breakfast, lunch and dinner favorites all day. SONIC’s customizable options and various made-to-order combinations make it the perfect place to satisfy all cravings.

Rhode Island is the 45th state for the expanding brand, with the Smithfield location being the first to open in the state. Plans to bring two additional drive-ins to Rhode Island are in motion as well, with both drive-ins expected to open in the next few years. The swiftly growing brand plans to open an additional 50 to 60 new franchise locations across the nation within the next year.

“Our expansion into our 45th state proves that SONIC has grown far beyond the regional player it once was; this opening is not only a milestone but also a stepping stone toward our goal of having a SONIC Drive-In convenient to all guests in the U.S.,” said Drew Ritger, senior vice president of development at SONIC. “SONIC is expanding rapidly through franchise partnerships like this one in Rhode Island, and we are constantly looking for new entrepreneurs interested in becoming a part of a different kind of restaurant concept.”

There are still many opportunities for SONIC to expand through strategic franchise partnerships like this one in New England including Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. SONIC offers franchisees flexibility with multiple drive-in formats, including the indoor dining offering especially suited to colder climates. Individuals interested in pursuing a SONIC franchise are encouraged to visit for more information on qualifications and brand support.

About SONIC, America’s Drive-In

SONIC, America’s Drive-In, is the nation’s largest drive-in restaurant chain serving more than 3 million customers every day. Nearly 90 percent of SONIC’s 3,500 drive-in locations are owned and operated by local businessmen and women. Over the past 60 years, SONIC has delighted guests with signature menu items, more than 1.3 million drink combinations and friendly service by iconic Carhops. To learn more about Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ/NM: SONC), please visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


View source version on

SONIC Drive-In
Madison LaRoche, 512-542-2842

Source: SONIC Drive-In

News Provided by Acquire Media

Original Article