COVID-19 and the (Re) Rise of Carhops at SONIC Drive-Ins
The recent COVID-19 experience has accelerated a wide range of new normal standards – a world without handshakes, large sporting events and what seems to be permanent social distancing.
A recent article by Top Data, a leading market research firm, theorized that the COVID-19 experience has actually sent us back in time. The article suggests that trends in food service – and SONIC in particular – are actually a harbinger of things to come and that customers are looking for nostalgic options that fit into the new normal.
The firm reports SONIC has become the nation’s preferred fast-food choice since mid-March, pointing out that SONIC was the most popular fast food chain in 15 states.
“Sonic–known for its 1950’s-esque drive-in style carhop service–has cemented its place as the preferred fast food destination for diners who have ventured outside their home,” Top Data writes.
And now other businesses are following suit. Food & Wine published an article entitled, “Old-School Carhops Make a Comeback in the Age of Social Distancing,” which details how other restaurants are taking a cue from SONIC.
“When social-distancing guidelines were first put in place, some restaurants (with the space to do so) got creative, opening up their parking lots and morphing into drive-in movie theaters,” Food & Wine reports. “The car hop, a model of dining where the server brings your food to your car window, is taking off, too.”
For SONIC, the retro drive-in concept is one reason why the brand is doing so well with consumers. Another factor is the launch of our revolutionary mobile-ahead app, which allows customers access to the full SONIC menu at the click of a button, including all of the customization the brand is known for, while not having to wait.
As the nation moves beyond the pandemic, consumers will continue to be focused on safety, cleanliness, as well as on affordability, comfort and taste. SONIC is able to deliver on all of these fronts, and this is why SONIC’s popularity isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.