For Franchise Information, email [email protected]
For Franchise Information, email [email protected]

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.”


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.