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31. Sonic Drive-In

Last Year's Rank: 28

Investment Range: $354,500 - $3,641,300

Category: Restaurant

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Company Description

Sonic is a fast-food chain with a diverse menu that includes hot dogs, burgers and a variety of desserts. Nearly all of the restaurant’s locations across the U.S. are franchised. Recently, Sonic has honed in on the small town market in Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

The company uses the drive-in as a unique business model. At most Sonic Drive-Ins, a customer drives into a covered drive-in stall, orders through an intercom speaker system, and has the food delivered by a carhop, who is often on roller skates. Other Sonic locations also have indoor seating for those wishing to dine in. 

In September 2018, Inspire Brands, the owner of Buffalo Wild Wings and Arby’s, purchased Sonic Drive-In for $2.3 billion. Though the Oklahoma-based chain currently has only domestic units, the company is looking to expand internationally, beginning with locations in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Company Statistics

Global Sales: $4,447,100,000

US Units: 3,606

Total Units: 3,606

Percent Franchised: 95%

% International Units: 0%

US Franchised Units: 3,427

Sales Growth %: 0.9%

Unit Growth %: 0.5%

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