What requirements must one meet to open a Sonic franchise? One of America’s most prominent drive-in fast food restaurants, Sonic Drive-In has more than 3,400 locations and serves millions of consumers. If you are anytime planning to own a Sonic drive-in, then your restaurant will sell everything from foot-long chili cheese dogs to juicy burgers to renowned milkshakes.

It might be one of the best franchised fast food restaurants because of the broad menu. Even customers who haven’t tried Sonic Drive-In are familiar with the drive-in idea. Your location might be these customers’ first Sonic Drive-In experience for those who have been waiting to taste the quality you would probably own. 

sonic franchise

How much does a Sonic Drive-in franchise cost

The total estimated Sonic franchise cost ranges from $1,242,200 – $3,537,700 (excluding land) and the fee is $45,000, the net worth and requirements may be satisfied with a partner’s net worth. It’s the same cost as the Sonic franchises in the US. 

Sonic Drive-in Franchise Cost and Price

Sonic Franchise Fee $45,000
Sonic Franchise Cost $1,242,200- $3,537,700 
Royalty Fee 5%
Advertising Fee 3.25%
Term of Agreement 20 years
Is the franchise term renewable? Yes,
Renewal Fee 20% of the license price. 
sonic franchise

How much do Sonic franchise owners make?

According to the latest FDD, the Sonic drive-in franchise owners make $1.37 million in revenue every year and with a profit margin of 18 to 22%, you can make a profit of $320,000.The Sonic franchise owner’s salary is around $95,000 as per the company records.

Is the Sonic Drive-in Franchise Profit Worth the Cost?

Sonic Franchise is not at all worth the profit only if you tend to earn more from their franchises. If you take ownership of multiple franchises, then you earn more amount of money in comparison to the amount of investment you make. 

With a Sonic franchise profit of $300 to $350K, it will take 12 to 15 years to recoup the investment mid-point of $2.5 million. I will not recommend this franchise opportunity at this cost. Unless the initial cost is reduced with no impact on sales, you should stay away from Sonic Drive-in.

Sonic Franchise Requirements

For a typical Sonic, the total investment ranges from $1.02 to $1.77 million, with the fee being $45,000. (excluding land). The complete net worth/liquidity requirements may be satisfied with a partner’s net worth. 

A typical Sonic has a 20-year tenure with an additional 10-year renewal. The franchise also needs to have experience in restaurant background with multi-unit experience preferable by the franchisor. 

One needs to have the ability to manage the team well and possess leadership with strong business/ entrepreneurial skills. The best key to running a franchise is to have an active community and workspace. This is what is expected of a Sonic franchisee. 

Sonic Franchise Rankings

Sonic Drive-in Franchise Owner Reviews

 To get the most out of your Sonic experience, here are some tips from the owner.

1. Arrive Early

One of the best ways to enjoy your Sonic experience is to arrive early. This allows you to get a good spot in the parking lot and avoid the long lines that tend to form later in the day.

2. Order Wisely

When you arrive at your Sonic, take a few minutes to peruse the menu. This way, you can order the food that you enjoy and avoid anything.

Other than food reviews and ordering methods, you should meet the Sonic Drive-in franchise owners and find answers to questions like 

  1. How much is a Sonic franchise?
  2. How much does a Sonic franchise cost?
  3. How much does it cost to own a Sonic franchisee?
  4. How much to open a Sonic franchisee?
  5. How much to start a Sonic Franchisee?
  6. Who owns Sonic Franchisees?

Meet the franchises before you buy a Sonic.


Sonic Drive-in Restaurant Training to Franchises

The current training program for the franchisee comprises  440 hours of technical training at a Sonic restaurant that the franchisor chooses. Within six months of taking the management role, at least one full-time manager must complete the general manager leadership class training to the franchisor’s satisfaction. 

Along with station classes and the assistant manager learning development program, the franchisor also offers management professionals additional self-directed continuous training courses, online training, and webinars.

Sonic Restaurant Operations 

The restaurant must always have at least one person working there full-time who has finished the training program that was in effect at the time. Franchisees are required to serve every item on the menu that the franchisor periodically requests, refrain from serving anything that is not included in the operations manual or that the franchisor has not otherwise authorized and approved, and only display and offer the menu that the franchisor has approved at that time.

How is Sonic Franchise Territory Granted

With some exclusions, the franchisor will not own or operate a Sonic restaurant within the restaurant’s protected region, and will not provide any other person a license to do so. (other than a Sonic restaurant licensed before the date of the licensing or agreement). 


sonic franchise

What is Sonic Franchise Term of Agreement and Renewal?

The first franchise term for non-traditional locations is 20 years, or a lesser of 10 years, the term of the facility lease, or both. If the conditions are met, a traditional Sonic is renewed for one more 10-year period.

Does Sonic provide Financial Funding to franchises?

No, unfortunately, Sonic franchises do not provide any financial assistance to their franchisees. 

Pros & Cons of Owning Sonic Drive in Franchise


  1. One of the most distinctive concepts in the QSR sector, the Sonic Drive-in experience delivers customization, control, and choice.
  2. One of the most well-known and effective QSR ad campaigns in history, Sonic’s Two Guys gave franchisees instant brand recognition and unmatched advertising power on opening day and beyond.
  3. A franchisee that opens in a new location now has a national advertising campaign working for them thanks to Sonic’s continuously growing market share.


  1. Unfortunately, they do not offer any kind of financing to their franchisees. 
  2. You may need to employ many employees to operate your store as it needs a lot of manpower. 

Franchise Deck Analysis and Overview

There are very high chances that many people will visit your store out of curiosity about you or because they already know who you are and need to satiate their appetites. This is the effectiveness of national advertising campaigns that run on television, radio, and the Internet. 

The Sonic Drive-in has definite plans to expand more than just the US. The inside and exterior designs of Sonic Drive-In also have that ageless, retro-futuristic diner aesthetic. Hence these are all really good reasons for you to think of buying a Sonic franchise if you are keenly into the fast-food industry. 

According to other industry data, franchise owners’ average gross sales were $1,246,000 in 2019. In addition to that, 23% of Sonic Drive-Ins had gross sales of more than $1.5 million in that same year. 

Sonic Franchise Success and Failure Rate

Sonic franchising has shown an increase in growth by introducing on average 16 units per year. On the other hand, they have also shut down around 36 units a year.

Competition Analysis of Sonic 
Franchise Brand Cost to Franchise Franchisee Fees Royalty + Ad fees Expected Profit Recoup of Capital FD Rating
Sonic $1,242,200- $3,537,700  $45,000 5%+3.25% 13% 14.5 years 3.5/5.0
Burger King Franchise $316,100-$2,660,600 $50,000
16%    3.8/5.0
SUBWAY Franchise
$229,050 – $522,300
7.5%    4.0/5.0
KFC Franchise $1,440,600 – $3,163,550 $45,000
15%  13.5 years 3.7/5.0

$790,797 – $2,368,316 $30,000 4%
15%    3.5/5.0

I rate Sonic franchising as 3.5/5.0.

sonic franchise

Conclusion: Should You Buy the Sonic Franchise for Sale?

The Sonic franchise is categorized as one of the very well-maintained fast-food industries. I would let you explore the franchise on your own, either by reaching out to the existing franchise owners or by finding out more detailed information about the franchise. If you are planning to consider this franchise, no doubt it would be a better option as it is one of the leading industry domains, but you may think wisely before you make a final decision. 

Entrepreneurs who want to open a franchise in the burger franchise opportunities category can look at 

  1. Whataburger Franchise 
  2. Mcdonald’s Franchise
  3. Burger King Franchise
  4. Burger Village Franchise 
  5. Hardee’s franchise
  6. Five guys franchise
  7. Wayback burger franchise 
  8. Wendy’s Franchise7
  9. 7 brew franchise

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Is the Sonic’s franchise profitable?

Yes, the Sonic franchises are profitable but you will take 15 years to recoup your investment.

  1. How do Sonic franchises make money?

The Sonic drive-in franchises make money by opening a chain of restaurants and selling fast food like burgers to their customers. 

Published On: January 5th, 2023 / Categories: Blog, Burger Franchise Opportunities /


  1. Spencer March 4, 2023 at 6:52 am - Reply

    Sonic Drive In is a great franchise with so many options to choose from.
    Their menu is always fresh and they offer a wide selection of food items. It’s a great place to get a quick meal or snack on the go.
    The drive-in service is convenient and fast, allowing for quick and easy ordering.

  2. Papajohn March 4, 2023 at 6:53 am - Reply

    Prices are reasonable and the quality of food is great Sonic Drive In also offers a variety of promotional deals and discounts.
    Kids meals are a great way to save money while still getting a tasty meal.The atmosphere is fun and lively, making it a great place to hang out.
    Sonic Drive In has a great loyalty program that rewards frequent customers.

  3. Padgett March 4, 2023 at 6:56 am - Reply

    Prices are reasonable and the quality of food is great. Sonic Drive In also offers a variety of promotional deals and discounts. Kids meals are a great way to save money while still getting a tasty meal. The atmosphere is fun and lively, making it a great place to hang out. Sonic Drive In has a great loyalty program that rewards frequent customers.

  4. Catherine April 1, 2023 at 11:57 am - Reply

    Sonic Drive-In is a great franchise to invest in, with a long track record of success. The drive-in concept is a timeless classic that appeals to all generations. Sonic’s menu is full of delicious options, from classic burgers and fries to shakes and slushies. The ordering system is easy to use and the service is always quick. Sonic’s signature roller skating carhops make the experience fun and unique. The franchise fees are reasonable, with an initial investment of $10,000 and royalties of 5%.

  5. Whiting April 1, 2023 at 11:58 am - Reply

    Sonic Drive-In is well established in the US and is expanding into other countries. Sonic offers a wide variety of promotions, discounts and loyalty rewards to keep customers coming back. Sonic has a great online presence, with a website, mobile app and social media accounts. Sonic’s franchisees benefit from ongoing training, support and resources. Sonic’s franchising program is flexible and allows for multiple business models. Sonic’s brand is well known and recognizable, making it a great choice for potential franchisees Sonic provides a fun and exciting atmosphere for customers and employees alike.

  6. Kate April 1, 2023 at 11:59 am - Reply

    Sonic is committed to giving back to the communities it serves through various philanthropic initiatives.
    Sonic Drive-In is an excellent franchise opportunity that offers great potential for success.
    The brand is well-known for its delicious food, friendly service, and nostalgia-filled atmosphere.
    Sonic offers a wide variety of menu items that appeal to all ages and tastes.
    It also offers customizable meals and the chance to earn rewards points for purchases.
    The franchise has a great training program that helps new franchisees get up to speed quickly.
    The Sonic brand also offers marketing and promotional materials to help franchisees reach their target market.

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