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QSR Magazine Calls SONIC a “Game Changer”

Iconic American drive-in franchise praised for its forward thinking customer experience strategy

SONIC, America’s drive-in franchise, is blazing new trails with a forward-thinking approach to customer service. By blending innovations in technology, savvy consumer marketing and consistent additions to what already is one of the most diverse menus in the QSR segment, SONIC also is winning high praise from the media.

sonic franchise

In a recent article published by QSR magazine titled, “Sonic’s Digital Strategy Could be a Game-Changer,” the publication lavishes praise on the iconic drive-in franchise for ushering in a new era for the QSR food industry.

“Around Sonic Drive-In headquarters, it’s referred to as ICE, or Integrated Customer Engagement,” the publication reports. “And it might just be the most dynamic strategy in the 3,600-unit brand’s history to date.”

One of the key points in the ICE strategy is the recent rollout of SONIC’s new Mobile Order Ahead app, which allows customers to customize their orders, pay-in-advance, choose their pickup location, while significantly reducing the wait-time for their food to be ready to mere minutes:

Sonic views this platform as a game-changer since it allows customers to decide when and where to order in a unique way. Guests use the app to customize, pay, and then select which Drive-In to go and pick up the food, as well as the time. Once guests check into the stalls, Sonic carhops bring the food out.

Another of the key facets to the ICE strategy is in digital media, which QSR reports accounts for 20% of SONIC’s overall marketing spend. In the article, SONIC CEO Cliff Hudson says that the overall goal behind SONIC’s focus on digital media is “probably our biggest priority over the coming months and years with an internal goal to grow our customer database fivefold over the next five years.”

“Our hope and expectation is that our unmatched potential for offering personalization to [quick-service] segment can increase our guest loyalty, drive incremental visits in the near term and increase average check over the long term,” Hudson said in the article.

From the development perspective, SONIC’s increasing brand equity is translating into new restaurants, with QSR reporting that SONIC has more than 500 commitments in the pipeline
for growth.

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