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Frequently Asked Franchise Questions

You have questions, we have answers. Find information below or reach out to our franchise development team to learn more about the SONIC franchise opportunity.

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frequently asked questions

What are the financial qualifications needed to franchise with SONIC?

Candidates will need $500,000 in liquid capital and a minimum net worth of $1,000,000 to open 1-2 units. Keep in mind that the SONIC Drive-In burger franchise is primarily a multi-unit opportunity. Minimum financial qualifications for additional units will increase.

What qualities is SONIC looking for in a franchisee?

Candidates must meet the financial qualifications for ownership and display key qualities that will help them build their businesses. We’re looking for owners who are sales-oriented with franchise operations or ownership experience, strong business acumen, and a connection to their communities.


Through the incentives, franchisees have the opportunity for significant savings when opening new restaurants through 2025:

  • Core, Developing & New Markets: All new openings through 2025 will receive $30,000 of the $45,000 Initial License Fee credited via royalty and 36 months of royalty discounts, starting for 2023 openings at 0% royalty for the first year for New and Developing Markets and 1% royalty for the first year for Core Markets.
  • Open Early: This bonus rewards early openings that beat the required open date by at least three months with 0% royalty for six months. The Core/New/Developing Markets Incentive rates then follow for a total of 42 months of discounted royalty.
  • 2023 Pull Forward Strategic Incentive: Commitments due in 2023 or later that open in 2023 will receive 36 months of royalty discounts starting at 0% for the first 12 months.

See the incentives flyer HERE for additional information.

How much does it cost to open a traditional SONIC?

The license fee for a traditional SONIC restaurant is $45,000, with a total investment ranging from $1,768,000 to $3,543,000 (excluding land). The license fee for a non-traditional SONIC restaurant is $22,500, with a total investment ranging from $348,500 to $1,020,500 (excluding land). 

What types of agreements does SONIC offer?

SONIC offers both traditional and non-traditional license agreements. The term of a traditional license is 20 years with a 10-year renewal option. The term of a non-traditional license agreement ranges from 5 to 10 years, plus a 5-year renewal option. 

Does SONIC designate franchise territories by location or by area?

It depends on the market. We offer single-store and multi-unit opportunities.

Am I required to reside in or near the area I’m interested in developing?

Yes. Either you or the operating partner must reside in the market in which you are operating. 

How many employees do I need?

A SONIC Drive-In generally employs about 25 individuals, including full-time and part-time workers. Management staff generally consists of the manager and two assistant managers. 

Does SONIC offer financing? 

SONIC does not offer direct or indirect financing and will not guarantee your note, lease, or other obligation. SONIC maintains a preferred list of lenders. We are listed on the Franchise Registry list as an approved SBA-Franchise. 

How much money will I make? 

The net profit for each store may vary depending upon size, location as well as your business ability and efforts. Financial performance representations can be found in Item 19 of our Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). This document will be provided to you once you register on our website and speak with one of our franchise development team members. 

How long does it take to open a restaurant?

It typically takes six to eight months to secure a site. Once site selection is complete and construction and build-out begin, it takes an average of 90 days to open your SONIC Drive-In franchise. 

What type of training does SONIC offer?

SONIC offers a 12-week training program that includes eight weeks of restaurant training, three weeks at new store openings, and one week of classroom training. Prior to your grand opening, your general manager must be in place and fully trained. All SONIC general managers are certified at a certified training store. 

What kind of support does SONIC provide?
  • A comprehensive operations/field training program 
  • HR training tools — Retention tools and resources such as access to online hiring & management system tools, online/onsite recruitment materials, and onboarding/performance management tools 
  • Staff selection tools — Tools to attract, select, and hire the right applicants 
  • Ongoing support from experienced operations, marketing, and real estate professionals 
  • A national purchasing program to provide efficiencies and optimize economies of scale 
  • Product innovation and insight teams that create and track products our customers crave 
  • Architectural, construction and engineering consultation and assistance 
  • National media coverage via one of the most successful year-round national advertising campaigns in the QSR industry 
  • Marketing materials such as radio and TV commercials, newspaper ads, direct mail, coupon books, promotional posters, and signage that can be customized for your location 
How important is community involvement?

Some of our most successful SONIC franchisees are deeply invested in their local communities. SONIC’s heritage was not only founded on great food and friendly service but also steeped in being part of the community. It’s not just the right thing to do; it’s good business.  

SONIC operators don’t consider community involvement a sales gimmick or a public-relations ploy. They see it as a way to be a good neighbor and to have a positive impact on their communities. Their efforts may include awards to encourage young children to read and incentives to keep older children in school. They also might provide opportunities for fundraisers for school projects or other means of assistance for events in the community. 

How does SONIC support community initiatives and philanthropic efforts on a corporate level?

For more than 15 years, SONIC’s community-giving programs have been geared toward advancing education and educational opportunities for Oklahoma youth ages 4-22. To further extend our commitment to education, each fall SONIC conducts its largest annual fundraising effort supporting teachers’ projects across the nation, Limeades for Learning.

Get to the sweet stuff

Download the 2023–2025 incentives report and stay updated with the franchise's blog and news for valuable insights.

Franchise Blog & News

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Connect with SONIC today to learn more about the limited-time incentives and significant opportunities for new store development commitments from 2022 to 2025. Fill out the form below and embark on your journey with this thriving franchise.

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For a limited time, we are offering significant incentives for new store development commitments for 2023–2025. To receive more information, please fill out the form below.