Starting the new year with additional unit growth, SONIC® Drive-In (NASDAQ: SONC) announced expansion plans in the state of New York with a franchise agreement bringing eight new Drive-Ins to Buffalo, N.Y. within the next six years.
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, N.Y. 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,” said 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,” said 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, cooler 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.
SONIC’s exceptional menu and serving format, as well as its one million-plus drink combinations, make it among the most differentiated concept in the restaurant industry. For years SONIC has been a regional powerhouse, and current national expansion means that franchise opportunities are still available.
SONIC®, America's Drive-In®, is the nation's largest chain of drive-in restaurants with more than 3,500 drive-ins serving approximately 3 million customers every day. Over the past 60 years, SONIC has delighted guests with signature menu items, more than 1 million drink combinations, friendly service by iconic Carhops and ongoing support of education through its award-winning Limeades for Learning® program. SONIC received top honors as America's "#1 burger quick service restaurant" in the 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings report.
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