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Sonic grand opening is a wiener

Posted Tuesday, August 23, 2005

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Siler City, NC - On Thursday evening the newest restaurant in Siler City was packed. People were driving up to the Sonic restaurant and placing their food orders over curbside speakers. Car hops delivered their orders to their parked vehicles.

On Friday morning, Sonic personnel and guests watched as the ceremonial ribbon cutting signaled the grand opening of the new Sonic drive-in restaurant.

The Siler City Sonic franchisees are Lance Burns, Roger Thomas and Mitch Neal. The three have fourteen years of Sonic franchise experience. They own nine restaurants in Atlanta and this is their first establishment in North Carolina.

Siler City managing partner Jeremy Fly has fifteen years expereince with Sonic.

The restaurant is located at 1509 East Eleventh Street next to the AutoZone store. They are open from 6 a.m. until midnight Monday through Saturday, amd from 7 a.m. to midnight on Sundays.

There are 80 Sonics in North Carolina.

In 1953, the prototype of the first SONIC Drive-In opened in Shawnee, Okla. Back then, SONIC revolutionized the ordering process by using curbside speakers enabling customers to place food orders without ever leaving their cars. This technology spawned the slogan "Service with the Speed of Sound™," which translates to one word: SONIC.

SONIC Drive-In's founder, Troy Smith, Sr., originally named the hamburger and root beer stand Top Hat Drive-In, and the name aptly changed to SONIC Drive-In in 1959. Throughout its 52-year history SONIC has enjoyed one of the highest customer frequency rates in the quick-service restaurant industry. More than a million customers eat at SONIC every day.

SONIC's personal Carhop service is one of many reasons customers enjoy visiting SONIC. SONIC Carhops personally deliver orders right to your car. What's more, Carhops check back to ensure a quality SONIC experience. Each customer receives a mint with each drink, dessert or meal purchase — a tradition started by SONIC Drive-In founder Troy Smith, Sr. to remind customers they are worth a mint at SONIC.

SONIC Corp., an Oklahoma City-based, publicly held company, is the nation's largest chain of drive-in fast-food restaurants with 3,000 drive-ins located coast to coast. In 2001, SONIC crossed international borders by opening its first drive-in in Monterrey, Mexico, and now has six locations in Mexico. Specializing in fresh, made-to-order meals, SONIC is best known for its signature menu items and personal, friendly Carhop service. Unique menu items include TOASTER® sandwiches (hamburgers and sandwiches served on thick Texas toast), Extra-Long Cheese Coneys (hot dogs with chili and cheese), fresh hamburgers, hand-battered Onion Rings, Tater Tots and a plethora of drink and dessert choices, like Cherry Limeades or Premi-Yum!™ Cream Pie Shakes. In 2003, SONIC introduced the nation to SONIC Breakfast featuring its signature breakfast items Breakfast TOASTER sandwiches and SONIC Sunrise, a Cherry Limeade with a splash of orange juice.

Troy Smith opens his first Top Hat Drive-In in Shawnee, Okla., featuring an intercom speaker system for ordering and Carhop delivery service.

Charles Pappe partners with Smith and opens the second Top Hat in Woodward, Okla.

Top Hat Drive-Ins operating in Enid, Shawnee, Stillwater and Woodward, Okla.

Due to copyright issues with the Top Hat name, drive-ins are renamed SONIC Drive-In for "Service with the Speed of SoundSM." In June, the Stillwater drive-in is the first to change its name to SONIC.

SONIC turns 10 years old with 19 drive-ins in Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas.

SONIC turns 20 and several important events set the stage for the future growth of the company.

* With 165 drive-ins in operation, 10 principal franchisees form SONIC Systems of America (later to become SONIC Industries).
* SONIC Systems of America offers each drive-in operator the option to purchase 1,250 shares of stock in the company at $1 per share and SONIC becomes an over-the-counter, publicly traded company.

Prime time! The first SONIC television commercial airs.

Play time! The first SONIC National Convention takes place in New Orleans, La.

SONIC turns 30 with 975 drive-ins.

SONIC's top management completes a $10 million leveraged buy-out of the company.

SONIC completes an initial public offering (IPO) and SONIC stock begins trading on the NASDAQ under the symbol SONC.


* SONIC turns 40 with 1,274 drive-ins in 25 states.
* Kimberly Aiken, a former Columbia, S.C. Carhop, is crowned Miss America.

SONIC 2000, a five-year re-imaging strategy begins:

* The new "retro-future" SONIC logo is introduced.
* For the first time, the entire system adopts a consistent menu and appearance with store-level retrofits.
* The Fountain Favorites® drinks and Frozen Favorites® desserts menu introduced to expand daypart sales and crew members flaunt new uniforms.

The 2000th SONIC Drive-In opens in Oklahoma City.


* SONIC celebrates 10 years as a publicly held company.
* SONIC Carhop named one of Teen People magazine's "Top 10 Jobs That Rock."

SONIC is repeatedly recognized in several leading publications:

* Forbes magazine (October 2002) -- SONIC is one of three companies named to the "200 Best Small Companies in America" list for the ninth consecutive year.
* BusinessWeek magazine (June 2002) -- SONIC is named to the "Hot Growth Companies" list.
* Restaurant & Institutions' annual Choice in Chains Award -- Burger Segment (March 2002) -- SONIC is named the overall Gold Winner for the fourth consecutive year.
* Entrepreneur magazine (January 2002) -- SONIC is voted to the top 20 for the second year in a row on Entrepreneur's "Franchise 500 list," ranking the top franchise opportunities in the country.
* 2,533 Sonic Drive-Ins coast to coast
* Average unit sales are $906,000

Party Time! SONIC IS 50!

* SONIC initiates a yearlong 50th Birthday Celebration.
* SONIC celebrated its birthday with customers in May with a 50th Birthday Cake Shake: a tasty blend of real white sheet cake, icing, soft serve and colorful sprinkles all in one cup.
* SONIC set out to find the Ultimate SONIC Fan in America with the help of its managers and crew members. SONIC received nearly 1,000 candidates, and selected Beverly Harris of Frisco, Texas, as the Ultimate SONIC Fan, earning Harris a trip to Hawaii for the 2003 Annual SONIC Convention.
* SONIC customers, Angela Lewis of Independence, Mo., and Shannon Fields of Quitman, Miss., are the lucky grand prize winners of the Peel-A-Present cup game, earning each a 2003 Ford® Mustang Convertible.
* 2,706 Sonic Drive-Ins coast to coast
* Average unit sales are $907,000
* SONIC moves into new corporate headquarters in Bricktown, a culturally rich area of downtown Oklahoma City. The new address is 300 Johnny Bench Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73104


* SONIC Chairman and CEO Cliff Hudson named top quick-service restaurant executive of the year by the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association for its annual Silver Plate Awards. A committee consisting of the editors of foodservice-industry publications and last year's winners of the Silver Plate awards selected the winners.
* SONIC television and radio spots featuring the "Two SONIC Guys" win top honors:
o National ADDYs - Silver
o Radio Mercury Award
* 2,885 SONIC Drive-Ins coast to coast
* Average unit sales are $964,000


* The 3000th SONIC Drive-In opens in Sonic’s hometown of Shawnee, Okla.

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Sonic grand opening is a wiener
Curbside speakers enabling customers to place food orders without leaving their cars.
photo by Gene Galin