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SONIC Franchise’s National Advertising Builds Brand Awareness in Northeast

Our strong business model and wildly effective Two Guys ad campaign produces successful first year for Rhode Island Sonic Drive-ins franchise

SONIC®’s first Rhode Island location in Smithfield just celebrated its one-year anniversary in October, and the New England restaurant continues to generate as much community excitement as it did when the doors opened. That excitement is shared by franchisees Bob and Sharon Bowen, who are looking to add a second location in Rhode Island.

sonic drive-in two guys campaign

Providence Journal Assistant Managing Editor John Kostrzewa recently heralded SONIC’s successful foray into the region, spotlighting how our brand has outlasted Krispy Kreme, another restaurant franchise new to Rhode Island. John recently delved into SONIC’s success in the region and how our strong business model and marketing strategy have helped us become a mainstay — not a passing novelty — in Rhode Island.

“I wondered if this new fast-food chain restaurant, known for its roller-skating carhops, was nothing more than a fad and would exit the way of some other brands,” John writes. “When I stopped at Sonic last week, however, I found a different story. Cars filled the 12 covered carhop stalls, and there were plenty of people ordering food inside. The numbers confirm my experience.”

sonic drive-ins rhode island

SONIC is America’s Drive-In®, serving more than 3 million customers a day at more than 3,500 locations nationwide. An iconic brand with a rich heritage encompassing more than 60 years, SONIC believes in excellent customer service and developing core relationships with customers and the communities where our franchise owners operate. We are in the middle of a major nationwide expansion and joining SONIC makes more sense than ever as we set a goal of 1,000 new Drive-Ins by the end of 2024.

As SONIC extends beyond our core markets, the New England region has become a growing development area. Rhode Island marks the 45th state for our expanding brand and our future looks bright in The Ocean State.

National advertising sets new SONIC locations up for success

What catapulted SONIC to success during our critical first year in Rhode Island, while other brands new to the area shuttered locations and halted optimistic plans for expansion in the region? John notes in his Providence Journal article that SONIC’s business plan, along with our quirky and comedic Two Guys national TV spots, equal a winning formula.

As we expand nationwide, SONIC has adapted by modifying restaurant models to include more indoor seating, while still staying true to our brand DNA. “When SONIC moved into the Northeast, it added franchises a few at a time as it learned its customers’ tastes and made changes to better suit the region. The New England restaurants, for example, added indoor dining areas in recognition of our cold weather,” notes the Providence Journal news article.

Our well-loved, national Two Guys advertising campaign also establishes SONIC as a household name months before an official ribbon cutting in a new community. Sharon Bowen, who co-owns the Smithfield location, credits the national ads for their location’s successful launch last fall. The national television ads had been running in Rhode Island long before the restaurant opened, building up excitement, as well as an appetite, for our menu.

Opportunities available nationwide

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 explore for more information on qualifications and brand support.

“SONIC is expanding rapidly through franchise partnerships like this one, which is paving the way for our brand in Rhode Island, and we are constantly looking for new entrepreneurs interested in becoming a part of a different kind of restaurant concept,” Drew says.

The franchise fee for a single unit is $45,000, with a total estimated SONIC franchise cost ranging from $1.02 million to $1.77 million (excluding land). The net worth of a partner can be used toward the total net worth/liquidity requirements, which helps to ease costs. The term of a traditional SONIC franchise is 20 years, plus a 10-year renewal.

Learn more about SONIC franchise opportunities

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