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For Franchise Information, email [email protected]

SONIC Drive-In Franchise Targets Cleveland for Expansion

The Rock and Roll Capital of the World is enjoying a resurgence, making it an ideal Midwestern city for the American drive-in franchise

2016 was a year of growth for SONIC Drive-In and we continue to set our sights in new markets in the Midwest and beyond. With several successful locations already open in Ohio and ample room for additional expansion, our iconic drive-in concept has set its sights on Cleveland, which is attracting droves of new residents to its reinvigorated downtown area and beyond.


Cleveland, Ohio Skyline – Erik Drost via Flickr Creative Commons

The thriving metropolitan Cleveland area is perfectly suited for the SONIC® experience. Cleveland, one of the largest cities in Ohio, had been on a downturn for years but is now experiencing a comeback, so much so that it was deemed one of the nation’s top 20 most cultured cities according to Travel+Leisure. This lakeside city is home to more than 2 million, including hundreds of thousands of young professionals and their families. Situated on the scenic shores of Lake Superior, Cleveland is a booming center of commerce and an ideal blend of business urban buzz and suburban family life that perfectly pairs with our aggressive goal to open another 1,000 stores over the next decade.

“It is a fantastic time to open a SONIC franchise and we are excited about the opportunity in the Midwest for the right operators. We have a best-in-class franchise support team that works with you every step of the way, strong brand equity and recognition even in markets where we have not yet opened, thanks to our successful Two Guys national advertising campaign,” says Lori Osley, Senior Director of Franchise Sales/Development Marketing.

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, which means that now is the time to join SONIC, as we set a goal of 1,000 new Drive-Ins by the end of 2024.

As we continue to expand from our super-regional roots and move into new areas of the country, we also adapt to the needs of our consumers. SONIC is an iconic brand, but we’re not stuck in a rut. We modify our traditional drive-in model in markets located in colder climates so we can bring our hot and fresh food and frozen treats to even more fans, providing them with indoor dining areas ideal in colder climates. Our innovative approach to growth is a great fit for the renaissance Cleveland is experiencing.

From families to millennials, Cleveland’s population base is perfect for SONIC

Although SONIC’s loyal fans span generations, from soccer families enjoying a post-game shake made with real ice cream to business owners grabbing breakfast and coffee to go, millennials, especially, are drawn to our nostalgic drive-in model, as well as our affordable and hot and fresh made-to-order food. Forbes magazine has noted that our iconic brand is a popular choice for millennials, while competitors have seen a decline in attracting the nation’s largest demographic.

Retail Leader reports that “millennials eat out 3.39 times a week on average, more than any other generation” and Cleveland is attracting college-educated millennials by the thousands. In fact, Cleveland ranks eighth in the country for population growth among college-educated millennials, according to a report commissioned by the Cleveland Foundation. Millennials are flocking to Cleveland from areas like Brooklyn because of the low cost of living and job opportunities.

Our popular Two Guys ads create pent-up consumer demand for SONIC in the Midwest

sonic franchise SONIC’s quirky and popular national Two Guys advertising campaign establishes fans of our  brand well before a franchisee plans a grand opening in a new community. Customers get excited about our full menu offered all day, from our hot breakfast items to our frozen treats, not to mention the more than one million refreshing drink combos we serve daily.
As we expand nationwide, there is plenty of available territory in all 50 states. SONIC is more than an iconic brand; we are a solid franchise investment focused on the future and backed by visionary leadership, robust national advertising power and operational excellence. We are looking for experienced franchisees to join our growing team and put us on the map in all 50 states.

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.