Sonic Drive-In Franchise Costs: Estimated Initial Investment (Item 7, 2022 FDD)
Traditional Sonic Drive-In
- A Traditional Free-Standing Restaurant is a Sonic Drive-In located on a lot size ranging between 24,000 to 34,000 square feet and suitable for constructing a 1,150 to 1,500 square-foot Sonic Restaurant building with canopies for 8 to 24 drive-in stalls, a drive-thru lane, and patio seating.
1. Initial License Fee: $45,000
2. Travel and Living Expenses During Training: $5,000 to $53,500
- The low amount is for local training and includes mileage and meals for 2 managers, 4 assistant managers, and 2 crew leaders during the required on-the-job training, new store opening experience, and classroom training.
- The high amount is for 2 managers’, 6 assistant managers’, and 2 crew leaders’ training plus travel, lodging, and meals.
3. Franchisee Certified Training Team Expenses: $48,000 to $72,000
- For your first 3 Sonic Drive-Ins, as part of the pre-opening training, approximately 7 members of your Restaurant crew identified as the Franchisee Certified Training Team will attend and complete a training program at another certified Sonic Restaurant that Sonic approves. Your Franchisee Certified Training Team will then train the entire new Restaurant crew for pre-opening and opening.
- This training usually starts 7 days before opening with a Friends and Family Day which is not included in the ranges listed but could increase the cost by as much as $15,000.
4. Prepaid Expenses: $2,000 to $250,000
- This range covers some deposits, impact fees for utilities, utility deposits, business licenses, and other miscellaneous prepaid expenses.
5. Real Property/Occupancy Charge: variable
- Commercial leasing costs vary considerably depending on the location, building, lot size, and market conditions. Commercial leases for free-standing Traditional Drive-Ins are typically “triple net leases,” requiring you to pay rent, taxes, insurance, maintenance, repairs, common area expenses, and all other costs associated with the property.
6. Building Costs: $800,000 to $1,100,000
- This covers costs to build the Drive-In and develop the site, including costs for construction, remodeling, leasehold improvements, and decorating costs. The actual costs will vary materially depending on location, size of lot and building, utilities, site work, and other factors.
7. Site Work: $450,000 to $1,200,000
8. Indoor Seating: $0
- Sonic does not require you to have indoor seating for your Restaurant. If you choose to include optional indoor seating, the actual costs will vary materially depending on the size of your indoor dining area, its location, and its finishes.
9. Restaurant Equipment: $175,000 to $260,000
- The amounts for equipment include the cost to purchase and install the recommended equipment package for a Sonic Drive-In with 8 to 24 drive-in stalls, excluding the cost of transportation and sales tax.
- The standard equipment package includes the ventilation system, equipment, other fixed assets, kitchen fixtures, appliances, and small wares necessary to operate the Restaurant.
- Delivery charges for the equipment package are approximately $10 per mile, one way.
- Typically, the equipment installer installs and charges for the equipment installation.
- The sales taxes will vary by location. If you choose to lease your equipment, your negotiated lease terms will determine your monthly cost.
10. Point-of-Sale System (“POS”), Digital Menu Housings (“POPS”), and Other Technology: $100,000 to $175,000
- These amounts include costs for the POS and POPS platforms for a Sonic Drive-In with 8 to 24 stalls, a drive-thru lane, and patio seating. It also includes additional hardware and software, mobile ordering and payment processing technology, and technologies required to support them.
11. External Signage: $50,000 to $150,000
- The amounts for a Sonic sign purchased from an approved source varies with the size and type of signs selected. You may select “enter” and “exit” signs, a “drive-thru” sign if required, an optional building or tower sign, and your large Sonic sign from a group of standard signs containing 8 sizes and varying heights.
- This estimate includes installation costs of at least $14,000.
12. Beginning Inventory: $20,000 to $50,000
- The costs for opening inventory include paper goods and food products necessary to operate the Restaurant through the first 2 weeks of business. It also covers charges for promotion-specific small wares and inventory.
13. Advertising Funds: $2,000 to $5,000
14. Insurance Premiums: $10,000 to $20,000
- The insurance amounts include the initial premium costs for multi-peril and worker’s compensation insurance based on the recommended staffing of a Sonic Drive-In with 8 to 24 drive-in stalls, a drive-thru lane, and a patio. Worker’s compensation costs vary by state.
15. Payroll: $56,000 to $137,500
- The 2-stage training program occurs at a certified training Sonic Restaurant or Sonic’s central training location in Oklahoma City.
- This estimate also includes amounts to reimburse the certified training Sonic Restaurant for training costs.
16. Additional Funds (3 months): $5,000 to $25,000
- The amounts for additional funds exclude the expenses itemized above and include the other initial start-up and the first 3 months of operational expenses for uniforms, office supplies, cleaning supplies, and utensils.
- These figures are estimates, and Sonic cannot guarantee that you will not have additional expenses starting your business.
17. Total Estimated Initial Investment (excluding free-standing real estate costs): $1,768,000 to $3,543,000
- The estimates above reflect a leased scenario for the Traditional Free-Standing Restaurant building type. These ranges do not reflect costs to construct a new building.
Non-Traditional Sonic Drive-In
- Estimated Initial Investment: $348,500 to $1,020,500