Sonic drive through has become quite popular in today’s burgers. They offer a very unique experience including waiters who deliver your food on skates! It has become a signature for the sonic cooperation.
Following World War II, Sonic founder Troy N. Smith Sr. returned to his hometown of Seminole, Oklahoma, where he became employed as a milkman. He decided to work delivering bread because bread was not as heavy as milk. Soon afterwards, Smith purchased the Cottage Cafe, a little diner in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Before long, he sold it and opened a fast food restaurant, Troy’s Pan Full of Chicken, on the edge of town. In 1953, Smith went in with a business partner to purchase a five-acre parcel of land that had a log house and a walk-up root beer stand, already named the Top Hat. The two men continued with the operation of the root beer stand and converted the log house into a steak restaurant. After realizing that the stand was averaging $700 a week in the sale of root beer, hamburgers, and hot dogs, Smith decided to focus on the more-profitable root beer stand. He also bought out his business partner.
Originally, Top Hat customers would park their automobiles anywhere on the gravel parking lot and walk up to place their orders. However, on a trip to Louisiana, Smith saw a drive-in that used speakers for ordering. He suspected that he could increase his sales by controlling the parking and having the customers order from speakers at their cars, with carhops delivering the food to the cars. Smith borrowed several automobiles from a friend who owned a used-car lot to establish a layout for controlled parking. He also had some so-called “jukebox boys” come in and wire an intercom system in the parking lot. Sales immediately tripled. Charles Woodrow Pappe, an entrepreneur, chanced upon the Shawnee drive-in and was impressed. He and Smith negotiated the first franchise location in Woodward, Oklahoma, in 1956, based on nothing more than a handshake. By 1958, two more drive-ins were built, in Enid and Still water.
In 1983, the company’s board of directors saw the need for change. C. Stephen Lynn was hired as president, and, in 1984, Lynn hired J. Clifford Hudson, an attorney, to head the legal department. Under Lynn, Sonic and its major franchisees began to encourage the development of local-advertising cooperatives, and developed a field structure to work with the franchisees. New franchises began to expand the company into new areas and redevelop markets that had been unsuccessful in the past. These developments, combined with a major advertising campaign featuring singer and actor Frankie Avalon, led to significant growth and a new image that would make Sonic a nationally recognized name. In 1986, Lynn, with a group of investors, completed a $10-million leveraged buyout and took the company private. The next year, Sonic moved its offices to leased space at 120 Robert S. Kerr Avenue in downtown Oklahoma City and began to assume a higher profile in the community. Hudson was named chairman of Sonic Corp. in January 2000
- “Service With the Speed of Sound” (1958)
- “Happy Eating” (1980s: on signs at many of the company’s drive-ins)
- “America’s Drive-In” (1987)
- “Faster And Better than Ever” (1988–90)
- “No Place Hops like Sonic” (1990–94)
- “Summer’s Funner” (1993)
- “Drive-In For A Change” (1995–97)
- “It’s Sonic Good” (2003)
- “Sonic’s Got It, Others Don’t” (2007)
- “Even Sweeter After Dark” (2009)
- “This is How You Sonic” (2011)