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SONIC Drive-In Franchise Conversions Save Time and Money

America’s premier drive-in franchise modifies former restaurants and businesses to spur nationwide expansion

Sonic Franchise

At 5,000 square feet, the new Buffalo, New York, area SONIC® is the largest in our system. The impressive conversion of the former Perkins restaurant and bakery into a new SONIC franchise is just one example of our robust efforts to expand efficiently by purchasing existing buildings and transforming them into profitable and thriving SONIC Drive-Ins.

Nearly two dozen conversions have been completed by franchisees to date in 2016 in states including California, Connecticut, Kansas, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Texas. This expansion method makes sense for SONIC when the existing property is ideally situated in a high-traffic area with re-branding potential. Drew Ritger, Senior Vice President of Development, recently spoke with Retail & Restaurant Facility Business magazine for a cover article that applauded our brand’s successful conversion efforts.

“SONIC is constantly working with franchisees to find building solutions that work for them and their resources, and many are finding success with building conversions,” says Drew. “Franchisees like the flexibility of location when it comes to crowded markets. A SONIC franchisee can convert an unsuccessful QS concept in a prime location and be successful.”

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, capitalizing on a series of historic revenue increases and joining SONIC makes more sense than ever as we set a goal of 1,000 new SONIC Drive-Ins by the end of 2024.

SONIC works closely with franchisees on site selection and finding building solutions that work for them and their resources. Conversions are often the perfect choice for several reasons, from cost savings to creative building configuration that takes into account local needs, such as more indoor seating in colder climates.

Conversions offer a lower investment option for franchisees

Sonic FranchiseConversions allow franchisees to take advantage of existing resources and prime real estate, which is particularly attractive in saturated markets where empty lots are scarce. In many cases, conversions may equate faster development than ground-up projects that require full construction. This translates into overall savings in investment resources as well as time.

“Our franchisees can convert an unsuccessful concept location into a SONIC Drive-In and find success because of the unique dining experience and menu offerings we provide,” Drew told the magazine.

Creative modifications ensure conversions match a community’s needs

Successful conversion of an existing building into a modern SONIC location is more than just locating an empty building. SONIC’s development team works hard to identify existing buildings, such as banks or other retail properties, that are prime candidates for conversion and also feature architectural elements that can help franchisees create a drive-in that matches the needs of the community.

“We support our franchisees in identifying appropriate real estate options for their new drive-ins and work with them in evaluating the appropriate building design,” Drew told the publication. “For example, utilizing existing garage doors that allow the indoor dining room to be opened up when the weather is nice is an especially relevant drive-in experience for locations in warm climates, like San Diego.”

Bring the SONIC franchise to your community today

There has 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 things: Leadership from our best-in-class franchise support team, a diverse menu that maximizes all five dayparts and unprecedented brand recognition generated by our popular Two Guys campaign. SONIC franchisees saw average gross sales by store increase from $1,072,000 in 2012 to $1,246,000 in 2015, with almost 25% of our stores exceeding $1.5 million in annual sales, according to our 2015 FDD.

SONIC is growing across the country, and we still have available territories throughout the United States. Earlier this year, we unveiled plans to open the first SONIC Drive-Ins in Hawaii and we announced 33 new franchise stores to be developed in California, where we continue to actively seek potential franchise operators. Company leadership believes that opportunity abounds for the right entrepreneur.

More franchises are coming on board, meaning no matter where our customers go, they’ll find a SONIC and feel at home. That’s just one of the many factors driving more than 3 million customers to our drive-ins each and every day.

The franchise fee for a single unit is $45,000, with a total estimated 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 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

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.