Industry News | January 7, 2014

Sonic Takes Upstate New York by Storm

Starting the new year with additional unit growth, Sonic Drive-In announced expansion plans in the state of New York with a franchise agreement bringing eight new Drive-Ins to Buffalo, New York, within the next six years. One of the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants has reached an agreement with Kevin DiPirro to develop these locations with the first planned to open in the Spring of 2015. The eight Drive-In locations will extend throughout the Niagara and Erie counties in upstate New York.


With five existing drive-ins located in the state of New York, this new agreement – along with the agreement announced in June that will bring six new locations to Rochester, New York, over the next four years – will more than triple the Sonic presence in the state. Given the consumer interest and excitement, there are additional expansion plans within the state that are currently underway and expected to be announced in coming weeks.


“Sonic has a passionate and loyal customer following and is a common sight in many parts of the country. However, some consumers in the Northeast that see our commercials or hear about us may not have a Sonic Drive-In in their community yet,” says Bob Franke, senior vice president of franchise sales and international development for Sonic. “Fortunately, our differentiated concept with distinctive sandwiches, snacks, and drinks appeals to customers across the country, and our business model combined with the unit growth prospects makes Sonic attractive to entrepreneurs. This agreement for eight new Drive-Ins in Buffalo introduces Sonic to a new, eager community and represents another step toward expanding our already growing footprint in the region.”


The new locations will be developed and operated under the leadership and local ownership of Kevin DiPirro. With vast experience operating a variety of brands in the Buffalo market, including Moe’s Southwest Grill, Cinnabon, and Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, DiPirro offers the right expertise and local knowledge to make SONIC a success in Buffalo.


We’ve been in the restaurant business in upstate New York for years and know Sonic would be a welcome and one-of-a-kind offering within this market,” says Kevin DiPirro, franchisee. “The unique drive-in experience with skating Carhops and the distinctive menu items like Footlong Coneys and Real Ice Cream Shakes make Sonic a stand out choice. We are very confident that Sonic will see success in Buffalo and beyond.”


As Sonic expands into new regions like upstate New York, it is partnering with franchisees to test revised drive-in prototypes that meet the unique needs of their markets. As an example, the new Buffalo drive-ins will feature an enclosed dining area that will allow guests to experience SONIC in multiple ways – either in their cars or seated at a table. The dining area is designed for year-round use, as it can be opened as a patio for guests to enjoy warmer weather.

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