SONIC franchise cost

What are the Startup Costs for SONIC?

Franchisees can invest in a strong, growing brand

What does it take to become a SONIC® franchisee? We are looking for passionate business owners, preferably those who have multi-unit franchise or business experience, as well as strong liquidity and net worth. We work closely with franchisees throughout the startup process to ensure their lifelong success with the brand.

The franchise fee for a single unit is $45,000, with a total estimated SONIC franchise cost ranging from $1.07 million to $2.36 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.

The average unit volume for our restaurants in fiscal year 2016 was $1.28 million. Because SONIC maximizes all five dayparts through its BLADE (breakfast, lunch, afternoon, dinner and evening) strategy, the ROI for a SONIC Drive-In can be more than a typical QSR.

How much is a SONIC franchise? Take a look!

It typically takes six to eight months to get a SONIC site secured. Once the site selection is complete and construction and build-out of your SONIC restaurant begins, it takes an average of 12 months to open your SONIC location, depending on the area.

SONIC’s corporate office has a full support team and services available to franchisees, such as helpful demographic data and in-depth site analytics, to make the entire site selection and construction process as smooth and profitable as possible for franchisees.

Please refer to the chart below to review the financial requirements needed for owning a SONIC franchise.

Financial Liquidity Net Worth
1 - 2 Units $500,000.00 $1 Million
3 - 4 Units $1.5 Million $2 Million
5+ Units $2 Million $2 Million+
**$500k per store, 5+ 2 million. Partnerships may be used to qualify.

Type of Expenditure Estimated Low (USD) Estimated High (USD) Method of Payment When Due To Whom Payment is to be Made
Franchise Fee 45000 45000 Lump Sum At Signing of License Agreement Sonic
Payroll 56000 127000 As Incurred During Training and Pre-Opening Your Employees
Training, travel and Living
Expenses while Training
5000 33500 As Incurred During Training Hotels, Restaurants and Airlines
A-Team Trainers 44000 92000 As Incurred During Pre-Opening and Post-Opening Suppliers
Advertising Funds 2000 5000 As Incurred Pre-Opening Period Suppliers
Beginning Invertory 30000 140000 Lump Sum Prior to Opening Suppliers
Security Deposits, impact fees for
utilities, utility deposits, business
license and other prepaid
42000 179000 Lump Sum Prior to Opening Suppliers
Insurance Premiums 10000 20000 Lump Sum Prior to Opening Suppliers
Additional Funds
(Three Months)
5000 10000 As Incurred Prior to Opening and Monthly Suppliers
Land 8 Variable Variable See Note 8 See Note 8 See Note 8
Building and Site Work 480000 1119000 See Note 8 See Note 8 See Note 8
Equipment, Point-Of-Sale
System ("POS") and Digital Menu Housings ("POPS") 9
335000 528000 See Note 9 See Note 9 Suppliers
Sonic Sign10 19000 63000 See Note 10 See Note 10 Suppliers
(plus land costs)
1073000 2361500
Optional - Indoor Seating 100000 150000 See Note 11 See Note 11 Suppliers

See the full Franchise Disclosure Document for all footnotes. To request a copy of our FDD, please request franchise information by completing the form on this page.

Franchisee experience needed

  • Restaurant background required by at least one operating partner and multi-unit experience preferred
  • Ability to develop, lead and inspire a management team
  • Strong entrepreneurial skills
  • Active in community
  • Retail sales

If you are curious about learning more about the SONIC franchise costs, your specific investment and to understand if you qualify, start up a conversation with us by filling out the request information form on this page or calling us at 866-714-0907.

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