About Sonic Drive-In

Sonic first opened in 1953 as Top Hat Drive-In in Shawnee, Oklahoma, with Troy Smith Sr. at the helm. He later partnered with Charlie Pappe and they began franchising in 1959 under the Sonic Drive-In name. Sonic’s car-hops deliver burger, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, tater tots, onion rings, fries, drinks, desserts and breakfast to customers.

SONIC®, America’s Drive-In®, is part of the Inspire Brands family of restaurants. Inspire is a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,300 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, and SONIC locations worldwide. Sonic Drive-Ins feature a wide array of classic drive-in favorites like made-to-order cheeseburgers, chicken options ranging from sandwiches to boneless wings, a variety of hot dogs including the 6-inch premium beef hot dogs footlong quarter-pound coneys, hand-made onion rings, tater tots and a full breakfast menu. The franchise is also known for its variety of real ice cream treats and specialty fountain drinks like our signature cherry limeades, famous slushes and its candy mix-in “SONIC Blast” treats. Sonic Drive-Ins are typically open from 6 a.m. to at least 11 p.m. and serve the entire menu all day long.

What Is A Sonic Franchise?

We offer an innovative, one-of-a-kind QSR franchise concept that is growing

SONIC® is America’s drive-in, serving more than 3 million customers a day at over 3,500 locations nationwide. We’re an iconic brand with a rich heritage that encompasses 60 years; we believe in excellent customer service and developing core relationships with our customers and the communities in which we operate.

What does it cost to own a sonic franchise?

Invest in a strong, growing brand. We have special incentives in select markets.

Now is a great time to invest in SONIC. Our brand has a proven business model, exceptional ongoing support, millions of fans, and most importantly, plenty of room to grow. The license fee for a traditional Sonic restaurant is $45,000, with a total investment range ranging from $1.24 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 $361,900 to $978,700 (excluding land). The term of a SONIC franchise ranges from 10 to 20 years, plus a 10-year renewal option.

Company Founded


Current Leadership

Claudia San Pedro, President

Started Franchising

1959 (62 years)

Total Number of Units

3,525 (as of 2020)

Part-Time / Full-Time

Full Time

How Much Does It Cost To Open A Sonic Drive-In Franchise?

There are several costs associated with opening a Sonic Drive-In franchise. There is typically a franchise fee set by the franchisor, which covers the costs of opening a franchise location. Some other commons fees include equipment fees, marketing fees, licensing fees, insurance, and taxes, to name a few.

Some franchises may have a weekly fee that the franchisee pays for operating a Sonic Drive-In franchise. The weekly fee for opening a Sonic Drive-In franchise is Royalty Fee Due Monthly On 10Th.

The full breakdown of these fees can be found in the Financial Disclosure Document (FDD) provided to franchisees by the franchisor. The FDD report will contain additional information such as whether the franchise is renewable (Sonic Drive-In Is Renewable) and does the franchise offer financing support (Sonic Drive-In Sonic Drive-In has relationships with third-party sources which offer financing to cover the following: franchise fee, startup costs, equipment, inventory, accounts receivable, payroll).

Sonic Drive-In Company Details

Here are some additional details about Sonic Drive-In.

Parent Company Inspire Brands
Initial Investment $45,000
Net Worth Requirement $1,000,000 - $2,000,000
Royalty Fee 2-5%
Ad Royalty 0.90%
Cash Requirement $500,000 - $1,000,000
Term of Agreement 20 years
Absentee Ownership No
Run from Home No
Part Time No

Training and Support Offered By Sonic Drive-In

Sonic Drive-In offers several support options to its franchisees. With 3,525 (as of 2020) units, Sonic Drive-In aims to provide support to each franchise owner to help them operate a successful franchise location. Sonic Drive-In offers 400 hours on the job training, 24 hours classroom training, and At existing franchise location additional training.

Training and Support Offered

Here are the support options offered by Sonic Drive-In.

On-The-Job Training 400 hours
Classroom Training 24 hours
Additional Training At existing franchise location
Ongoing Support
  • Purchasing Co-ops
  • Newsletter
  • Meetings & Conventions
  • Toll-Free Line
  • Grand Opening
  • Online Support
  • Security & Safety Procedures
  • Field Operations
  • Franchisee Intranet Platform
Marketing Support
  • Co-op Advertising
  • Ad Templates
  • National Media
  • Regional Advertising
  • Marketing Planning & Support
  • Social Media
  • SEO
  • Email Marketing
  • Loyalty Program/App

Is Sonic Drive-In Right For You?

Sonic Drive-In has gone digital! Here are all of the ways you can find Sonic Drive-In online. Oftentimes, you can reach out to current franchisees of Sonic Drive-In online. Current franchisees may be able to offer personalized insights into what it is like owning a Sonic Drive-In franchise and offer tips to running a successful Sonic Drive-In franchise location.


Why Should You Start a Sonic Drive-In Franchise?

Investing in a Food franchise such as Sonic Drive-In can kickstart your franchise portfolio. Our goal at Why Franchise is to provide you with the resources needed to be a successful franchise owner. Fill out the form below to get more information about Sonic Drive-In franchise and we'll be in touch soon!

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