Sonic's Culinary Innovation Center Fuels Product Pipeline

Rendering of Sonic's Culinary Innovation Center RMTA

Sonic Drive-In is ramping up its product pipeline with a new Culinary Innovation Center, a state-of-the-art test kitchen under construction in the brand’s Oklahoma City headquarters.

The new space, which should be completed in the coming months, includes a culinary playground to foster creativity, a replica of a Sonic kitchen, and room for small and large tastings and demonstrations.

Lessons in Giving

Changes are afoot in Melissa Hunt’s first-grade classroom at I.T. Stoddard Elementary School in Blackfoot, Idaho. This year, Hunt’s classroom welcomed the addition of two iPad minis and a storage cart holding books and headphones. Hunt also launched the Lunch Bunch Book Club, a monthly reading discussion group in which 22 students receive a book to read and keep for their personal library.

Sonic Launches 50 Shake and Slush Flavors for Summer

Sonic Drive-In is bringing back its Summer of Shakes for another year and giving fans more reasons to embrace the season with 25 slush flavors. New slush flavors like Blue Raspberry made with Nerds and rainbow candies, Super Peach Ring, and Polynesian Punch will quench guests’ thirsts with a kaleidoscope of color. Other creations include Oreo Peanut Butter, Cookie Dough, and Chocolate Hazelnut Cream. As an added treat, shakes are half-price after 8 p.m. all summer long, and slushes are half-price during Sonic’s Happy Hour, every day 2–4 p.m. at participating locations.

Sonic Corp. Promotes Two Marketing Executives

Sonic Corp., parent company and franchisor of the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants, announced the promotions of two executives within the marketing team. Senior vice president James O’Reilly is being promoted from chief marketing officer to chief brand officer, and Todd Smith is being promoted from vice president of marketing to chief marketing officer. The expanded responsibilities of these executives are a reflection of the success they have brought to the Sonic brand during their tenure.

Sonic Aims to Open 1,000 Locations Over Next 10 Years

With more than 60 years in the quick-service game and a robust presence in the South and Central Plains, Sonic Drive-In is making progress in its commitment to expanding across the U.S., primarily through coast-to-coast franchise development. The brand recently placed in the top 6 percent of franchise brands in the Entrepreneur 2014 Franchise 500, coming in as the third highest burger chain among all franchise brands reviewed.

Customer Experience Survey Ranks Sonic Top Burger Brand

SONIC Drive-In received top honors in the 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings report by market research organization Temkin Group, moving up to fifth place after earning the seventh spot in 2013. SONIC ranked higher than all other burger chains and tied for fifth place among 268 national brands, and was the only burger quick-service restaurant within the top five brands.

Sonic Introduces New Shake Flavors

On April 1, Sonic Drive-In announced the Kale Cream Pie Shake to unsuspecting fans—well, April Fools! Though kale is a food trend that can’t be ignored, Sonic is going in a different creative direction as it brings back Summer of Shakes for the second year. Last year’s daring Peanut Butter and Bacon Shake was the unexpected star, but three new flavors for 2014 are equally as exciting, including Oreo Peanut Butter, Salted Caramel, and Chocolate Covered Jalapeño. These three mixed shakes, along with 22 other flavors, will be available for half price after 8 p.m.

Kick It Up a Notch

Some like it hot. And some like it even hotter. Fiery dishes are heating up limited-service menus as operators increasingly recognize consumers’ growing interest in spicy, hot entrées.

A 2013 Consumer Flavor Trend Report by Chicago-based restaurant market research firm Technomic found that a majority of Americans (54 percent) now prefer hot or spicy foods, sauces, dips, and condiments. That’s up from 48 percent in 2011 and 46 percent in 2009.

Sonic Blasts Get Makeover with Candy, Fruit Mix-Ins

Sonic Drive-In has given a premium makeover to its fan-favorite Sonic Blast with six new Master Blast flavors. Customers who love Sonic’s Real Ice Cream can take the guesswork out of creating confections of fruit, cookies, candy, and Real Ice Cream by choosing one of six new Master Blast flavors, including Triple Chocolate, Turtle Pecan, Pineapple Upside Down, Banana Split, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Caramel Brownie.