Sonic Drive-In Restaurant Franchise Cost, Fee and Profit Opportunities

SONIC DRIVE-IN Franchise Startup Cost, Profit Margin, Revenue and Locations

The Sonic Drive-In Restaurant franchise provides the opportunity for prospective franchisees to own part of a world-class franchise. This franchise has a specialty in the provision of services that include breakfast, ice cream, beverages, burgers, chicken sandwiches and hotdogs. Initially known as Top Hat Drive-In, the Sonic Drive-In restaurant was founded by Troy Smith in 1953.

With its corporate headquarters located at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, It has Cliff Hudson as its CEO and Sonic Corp. as its parent company. It opened its franchising arm for investment in 1959.

Sonic Drive-In Restaurants Investment Benefits

Being America’s biggest Drive-In chain, the Sonic franchise offers its franchisees the opportunity to partake in a franchise opportunity with national spread and presence with a strong potential for profitability.

Other benefits to be derived by owning a Sonic Drive-In restaurant include ideal locations and territories in all the 50 states of the United States, including having a strong national advertising network.

Some of the qualities required by the franchisor from its franchisees include having experience in retail sales, strong entrepreneurial skills and having a restaurant background among others.

Sonic Drive-In Restaurants Franchise Startup Costs

The Sonic restaurants have startup cost implications for the ownership of its franchise opportunity. These consist of an Initial Investment sum starting from $1,023,000 to $1,765,000, a liquid cash requirement ranging from $500,000 to $2,000,000, and a net-worth requirement from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000.

Sonic Drive-In Restaurants Franchise Fee

The Sonic Drive-In Restaurant franchise has a franchise fee starting from $45,000. This franchise fee is a requirement for all franchise candidates. There is, however, a provision for financing which covers the franchise fee. This is in the form of a third party financing provided by the franchisor. the franchisee has to qualify for financing to benefit from this option.

Sonic Drive-In Restaurants Franchise Ongoing Costs

There are ongoing costs incurred by the franchisee in the course of doing business that must be paid by the franchisee to the franchisor. These ongoing costs are in the form of an Ongoing Royalty fee of 5% and an Advert Royalty fee of 3.25 to 5%.

The ongoing cost to be paid to the franchisor largely depends on the size of the franchise. The larger the franchise size, the higher the ongoing cost implications.

Sonic Drive-In Restaurants Franchise Training and Support

The training enjoyed by all Sonic Drive-In franchisees apart from the initial training also includes additional training provided at an existing franchise location.  Under Sonic Drive-In restaurants franchise’s initial training arrangement, a career development training session split into parts 1 and 2 are conducted. It is strongly advised that the franchisee participates in both pieces of training with their managers and at least one other person.

Ongoing training in the form of seminars is held periodically to update the knowledge of its franchisees’ skills and other important requirements needed for the smooth operation of their franchises.

Apart from training, the franchisor also provides a robust support network that covers areas such as field operations, the provision of internet services, a toll-free line, and occasional meetings/newsletter publications that provide updates on happenings and innovations within the industry.

Others include the provision of security, organizing a grand opening ceremony, and a purchasing cooperative.

Sonic Drive-In Restaurants Franchise Application and Terms of Agreement

Under the Sonic Drive-In restaurants franchise’s terms of agreement/renewal, there are two business models which include a traditional sonic and the non-traditional sonic business model. Under the traditional sonic franchise arrangement, the initial franchise term lasts a period of 20 years, while for the non-traditional; it has an initial franchise term of 5 years.

Under Sonic Drive-In Restaurant’s renewal agreement, the renewal for its traditional franchise model lasts a single 10 year period, while under its non-traditional model; a term of 5 years is made available under its terms of agreement/renewal arrangement.

To qualify for a renewal of its franchise term, Sonic Drive-In Restaurants Franchise requires that interested franchisees meet certain criteria or requirements before they can be considered.

How to Start a Sonic Drive-In Restaurants Franchise?

To start a Sonic Drive-In Restaurants franchise, certain vital steps are required which include visiting the franchisor’s website on click on the “be an owner” button which immediately redirects you to the application page where an “information request” page is available. On this page, personal details such as your name, phone, email, state, and a “tell us about yourself” section are provided with spaces for responses. After filling this form, submit immediately and wait for detailed information on this franchise opportunity.

There is an alternative way to get started. On the franchisor’s website, a phone number is provided for strictly franchise information. After calling this number, all the necessary information is provided by a representative.


This article has paid special focus on the Sonic Drive-In Restaurants franchise, making available all the information needed to help in making the right investment decisions. With details that include the startup cost, the franchise fee, ongoing costs, and the terms of agreement/renewal arrangement among other procedures, including explanations on how to start, the interested franchise candidate is given the best exposure necessary for making the best investment decisions.



Sonic is a drive-in restaurant brand based in the United States of America. If you are in the restaurant business or wish to be in the restaurant business, sonic is a restaurant brand to consider. The global restaurant business is a globally profitable business.

In this article, we shall be considering Sonic as a company and the franchise opportunity which the company offers business people and entrepreneurs.

We are going to start this article by first looking at the history of Sonic as a company. We are also going to examine the start-up cost for a Sonic franchise and the franchise fee which the company requires from its intending franchisees.

We are also going to discuss the training and support which the company provides for its franchisees. Also to be discussed is the terms of the franchise agreement at the company.

And finally, we are going to tell you how you can open a Sonic franchise.

Is Sonic a Franchise?

Sonic is a franchise. The company is top restaurant brand based in the United States of America. The company operates a chain of restaurants in all 50 states of the United States.

The company was founded 64 years ago on the 18th of June, in the year 1953. Sonic was founded by Troy Smith.

The company first started as a small hamburger stand in Shawnee, a Native American tribe in the state of Oklahoma in the Midwestern part of the United States of America.

The hamburger stand was named Top Hat Drive-In. However, the company’s name was changed in 1959 to Sonic, after Troy Smith found out that the company’s name (Top Hat) was already trademarked.

The company started franchising 59 years ago in the year 1959, 6 years after the company was founded.

The company’s headquarters is located in located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in the United States. Sonic is a private company. As a private company, the company is registered as Sonic Franchising LLC.

Sonic Franchising is a subsidiary company of Sonic Corp. A public company quoted on the NASDAQ exchange with the Ticker Symbol SONC. The company is also an S&P 600 Component company.

The company’s corporate address is located at 300 Johnny Bench Dr. Oklahoma City, OK 73104.

The current President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company is Cliff Hudson while Paige Bass serves as the company’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel.

The company’s products include chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, and hamburgers. The company also offers such drinks as milkshakes and soft drinks.

The company has seen impressive growth in its years in existence. The company has grown to more than 3,557 locations in 2016, 345 of which are owned by the company while 3,212 are operated by the company’s franchisees.

The company’s first franchise location was opened by an entrepreneur named Charles Woodrow Pappe in Woodward Oklahoma.

Over the years, the company has served delicious meals to its millions of customers in the U.S.

How Much Does Sonic Franchise Cost?

Sonic requires a franchise fee of $45,000 (U.S. dollar) from intending franchisees who want to join the company. Alongside other important fees, the intending franchisees are also required to present a liquid asset of $500,000 (U.S. dollar).

Sonic Franchise Fee

Sonic requires a franchise fee of $45,000 (U.S. dollar) from its intending franchisees. The intending franchisees are also required to pay a royalty fee of 5% of gross sales and an advertising corporative fee of 3.25% of gross sales.

Sonic Franchise Start-up Cost

The required start-up cost for a Sonic franchise is at a low of $865,000 (U.S. dollar) and a high start-up cost of $3,641,300 (U.S. dollar).

Sonic Franchise Training and Supports

Sonic provides training and support for its franchisees. The company’s franchisee training must be attended by a full-time staff of the restaurant location.

The support which Sonic provides for its franchisees include;

  • Sonic provides site selection support.
  • The company provides online support.
  • Franchisees enjoy advertising support from the company.
  • There is grand opening support for franchisees.

Sonic Franchise Terms of Agreement/Renewal

The initial franchise agreement at Sonic has a term of 20 years for a traditional Sonic franchise and a term of 5 years for a non-traditional Sonic franchise.

Franchisees at the company can get a renewal of their franchise agreement. The franchisee agreement for a traditional Sonic franchise is for one additional term of 10 years while a non-traditional Sonic franchise can get a franchise agreement renewal of one additional term of 5 years.

The franchise agreement renewals are subject to the franchisee meeting the company’s conditions for a renewal.

How Much Does a Sonic Franchise Make?

How much a Sonic franchise makes is not known. How much a franchise of the company can make is most determined by the location of the franchise.

However, leveraging the company’s long history and success, the franchisees at the company can make money with the franchise.

How to Open a Sonic Franchise

For entrepreneurs who desire to open a Sonic franchise, the intending franchisee is required to contact the company directly on its website at for inquiries and to fill out the company’s franchise request form.

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