Companies must overcome a series of tough performance-related obstacles to make the Forbes 200 Best Companies in America list, and Sonic Corp., (Nasdaq: SONC) has done it again. For the seventh consecutive year, Sonic has been named to the exclusive Forbes list, proving its unique approach in the highly competitive quick service food industry is a hit among consumerand investors. In the Oct. 30 issue of Forbes, Sonic is ranked No. 124 — up from No. 143 in 1999 and No. 170 in 1998. Sonic is the only quick-service restaurant recognized on this year’s list and one of only three companies to be on the list for at least seven consecutive years.
Continued financial growth and impressive fiscal results are key to Sonic’s inclusion in this important national ranking. As reported by Forbes, Sonic’s five-year average return on equity was 17 percent with an 18 percent return on equity during fiscal 1999. In addition, total revenues in fiscal 1999 reached $273 million and net income for the same period hit $31.1 million.
Sonic’s steady growth was further illustrated with the recent release of the company’s fiscal 2000 results. In fiscal 2000, Sonic opened 174 new drive-ins and has plans to open and additional 190 to 200 units in fiscal 2001. In addition, total revenues for fiscal 2000 were $280.1 million with a net income of $32.6 million.
Forbes’ requirements make repeat appearances on the 200 Best list difficult. Consistent growth and profitability are a company’s best bets for making — and staying–on the 200 Best.
“The Forbes honor recognizes sustained, solid growth. We’re pleased that Forbes has recognized Sonic for these achievements and believe we will continue to improve our performance against these measurements,” said Clifford Hudson, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer for Sonic.
Forbes’ annual list of the 200 Best Small Companies in America is restricted to publicly traded, U.S.-based corporations with five-year sales and earnings-per-share growth rates of 5 percent or more as well as a net income of at least $1 million during the past four quarters. Once the base criteria is met, companies are ranked based on additional growth and profitability requirements such as growth in sales and return on equity to help determine if companies are likely to sustain their momentum.
Sonic is known for its made-to-order food served by Carhops who deliver food directly to customers’ cars. Sonic started as a hamburger and root beer stand in 1953 in Shawnee, Okla., and has grown to more than 2,200 drive-ins in 27 states. Sonic is the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants and more than three-quarters of a million people eat at Sonic Drive-Ins every day. Visit Sonic on the Internet at www.sonicdrivein.com .