What Is a SONIC Franchise?
SONIC is ready for a future of continued innovation and rapid growth
SONIC® is America’s drive-in, serving more than 3 million customers a day at over 3,600 locations nationwide. As an iconic brand with a rich heritage of more than 62 years in business, SONIC franchise systems continues to thrive in the booming QSR industry, not only in terms of growth and brand recognition, but also in our unique ability to connect with our millions of customers and become a part of the communities in which we operate.
In recent years, SONIC has leveraged our legacy as a pioneer in customization with new technology and wildly popular marketing campaigns to connect with our loyal fanbase, grow brand equity, enhance the customer experience and help our franchisees grow their businesses over the long-term. As a result, our franchisees are thriving in their businesses, generating more than $1.2 million in average store sales, and the demand for new SONIC locations has never been higher than it is today.
“When you’re an entrepreneur, and you’re looking for a franchise business model to affiliate with, the first thing that you want to ask is, ‘which brand can consistently deliver traffic to my door?’” says Claudia San Pedro, President of SONIC. “You won’t find another brand like SONIC that has such tremendous brand awareness across the country yet still has so much room to grow.”
Join a brand that honors your entrepreneurial spirit
SONIC is one of the rare iconic brands that has franchisees with hundreds of locations who have been with us for decades and new franchisees who are growing their business from one restaurant. The reason why entrepreneurs continue to be attracted to SONIC is that we get more than a few things right about our business model that helps our franchisees thrive.
Beginning with our B.L.A.D.E. (Breakfast, Lunch, Afternoon, Dinner, and Evening) strategy, SONIC has a five-daypart menu that keeps customers coming to SONIC all day long. Even more importantly, SONIC offers an endless ability for our customers to customize their orders (we have over one million drink options). With our new order-ahead mobile app, we’ve taken customization one step further by allowing our customers the full customization experience on their cell phones – and now they don’t even have to wait! SONIC also rolls out new menu items on a regular basis. This keeps our customers constantly engaged with our brand and makes them excited to come back.
Then there is our advertising power, which is unlike anything else in the QSR industry. Our hilarious television campaigns resonate with young and old, in rural and urban markets, and has propelled SONIC to be a name brand that Americans know and love, even in markets where SONIC has yet to enter. This advertising muscle not only makes it easier for franchisees to build a following in their communities, it also makes it easier for our customers to feel connected with our brand as we continue to grow.
Our business model is also highly scalable and simple to understand. We optimize unit-level economics, leveraging our national buying power and closely analyzing individual store sales to optimize efficiency. Our leadership is unmatched, and our departments work collaboratively to maximize efficiency and profits across all facets of the business. Our national buying power of $1.2 billion helps us control costs system-wide. In addition, SONIC’s purchasing department works closely with the marketing and innovation teams to ensure that every SONIC restaurant has 100 percent availability of the right product at the best cost.
“One question that entrepreneurs should ask when researching a franchise opportunity is, ‘Are my values aligned with those of the franchise business that I’m choosing to associate myself with?’” San Pedro says. “We have a strong culture of making sure that we honor the entrepreneurial spirit for all of our franchisees. We have a culture of support, of investing in new technology and a commitment to innovation. Most importantly, we make sure that our franchisees are involved in every one of our initiatives from day one. We have a great partnership with our Franchise Advisory Council, and they play a critical role in our success. It doesn’t matter what the initiative is, we are bringing our franchisees along every step of the way.”
What does it cost to open a SONIC franchise?
The license fee for a traditional SONIC franchise is $45,000, with a total investment ranging from $1.23 million to $3.53 million (excluding land). The license fee for a non-traditional SONIC restaurant is $22,500, with a total investment ranging from $356,500 to $977,300 (excluding land). The term of a SONIC franchise ranges from 10 – 20 years, plus a 10-year renewal option.
“We are looking for franchisees who want to be part of a family-oriented culture with a can-do entrepreneurial attitude,” San Pedro says.