Sonic Corp., more commonly known as Sonic (stylized as SONIC), is the operator of an American drive-in fast-food restaurant chain based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, which is owned by Inspire Brands, the parent company of Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings. As of September 5, 2018, there are 3,606 sonic drive in in 45 U.S. states. In 2011, it was ranked 10th in QSR Magazine’s rankings of the top 50 quick-service and fast-casual restaurant brands in the nation (moving to 13th for 2015 and 2016). Known for its usage of carhops on roller skates, the company annually hosts a contest to discover the top skating carhop in its system.
Although Sonic has operated since the early 1950s, Sonic Corp. incorporated in Delaware in 1990. It has its corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City; the headquarters building comes with a dine-in Sonic restaurant inside an adjacent building. Before its acquisition by Inspire Brands, its stock traded on NASDAQ with the symbol SONC. Company restaurants are owned and operated by Sonic Restaurants, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary. Total 2016 revenues were around $100 million with net income of $18 million.
Jr. Deluxe Burger from Sonic Drive-In.
The Jr. Deluxe Burger, a value menu item
Sonic’s menu contains hamburgers and Fried potatoes, as well as onion rings, corn dogs, chili dogs and breakfast toaster sandwiches. Drink options include fizzy drinks, slushes, and milkshakes. Customers can combine various drinks and flavors to produce a large number of possible drink combinations. Soft ice cream desserts include sundaes and floats.
In a standard Sonic Drive-In, a customer drives right into a covered drive-in stall, orders through an intercom speaker system, and contains the food delivered with a carhop. Most drive-ins likewise have patio seating, and lots of have drive-thru lanes.
History – Following World War 2, sonic menu returned to his hometown of Seminole, Oklahoma, where he became employed being a milkman. He chose to work delivering bread because bread had not been as heavy as milk. Soon afterwards, Smith purchased the Cottage Cafe, just a little diner in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Before long, he sold it and opened a fast food restaurant, Troy’s Pan Full of Chicken, on the fringe of town. In 1953, Smith went together with a company partner to buy a five-acre parcel of land who had a log house as well as a walk-up root beer stand, already named the Top Hat. Both men continued using the operation from the root beer stand and converted the log house right into a steak restaurant. After understanding that the stand was averaging $700 per week in the sale of root beer, hamburgers, and hot dogs, Smith made a decision to focus on the more-profitable root beer stand. He also bought out his business partner.
Originally, Top Hat customers would park their automobiles anywhere on the gravel parking lot and walk as much as place their orders. However, on the trip to Louisiana, Smith saw a drive-in that used speakers for ordering. He suspected which he could increase his sales by manipulating the parking and having the shoppers order from speakers at their cars, with carhops delivering the food towards the cars. Smith borrowed several automobiles from a friend who owned a used-car lot to establish a layout for controlled parking. Also, he iygumq some so-called “jukebox boys” can be found in and wire an intercom system inside the car park. Sales immediately tripled. Charles Woodrow Pappe, an entrepreneur, chanced upon the Shawnee drive-in and was impressed. He and Smith negotiated the initial franchise location in Woodward, Oklahoma, in 1956, based upon simply a handshake. By 1958, two more drive-ins were built, in Enid and Stillwater.
Sonic Drive-In neon sign in the Oklahoma History Center
Upon learning the Top Hat name was already trademarked, Smith and Pappe changed the name to Sonic in 1959. The new name worked with their existing slogan, “Service with the Speed of Sound”. Following the name change, the very first Sonic sign was installed on the Stillwater Top-Hat Drive-In; this was the initial of three Sonics that would eventually exist in Stillwater. The sonic happy hour to transport the initial sign was demolished and renovated in May 2015. Although Smith and Pappe were being required to help open new franchise locations, no real royalty plan was in place. The pair decided to get their paper company charge an additional penny for every Sonic-label hamburger bag it sold. The proceeds would then be split between Smith and Pappe. The initial franchise contracts under this course of action were drafted, but still no joint marketing plan, standardized menu, or detailed operating requirements were in place.