Sonic Drive-In Restaurants SWOT Analysis


Sonic Drive-In Restaurants was founded in year 1953 and has grown into a well established chain of drive-in restaurants across the country. The quick service by the company was made possible by the speaker and microphone-based carhop servers and ordering systems and served sometimes on roller skates. The company derives its franchise satisfaction even more through its excellent information technology.

The unique quick service of the company along with its specialty menu has made the company able to differentiate itself and position itself well in the market. The Sonic Drive-In Restaurants have become one of the leading fast food networks in the United States.

The company is said to have a strong management and human resource policies that are key contributors to its success.

The fun culture that Sonic Drive-In Restaurants promotes is another strength of the company. They have a retro, trendy and future look that is fun for the customers and attracts them the customers can avail the take away service, drive in, drive through or dine on its patio.

The differentiation and positioning of the restaurant has kept it from taking part in any kind of price wars with its competitors.

The restaurant has various points of quality that add to the value delivered to the customers and makes them more satisfied. Some of the points of quality include Styrofoam cups, aluminum foil, personalized, fast and quick service etc.

The network of Sonic Drive -In Restaurants is one of the strongest in the United states as they have around 3,500 drive-ins.

The points of differentiation make it hard for the competitors to compete with it. These include the streamlined delivery system, friendly Carhop service, customizable orders etc.


The business model that the drive ins offer is only applicable and works in areas with warm climate.

The company incurs very high media expenditures every year to market and promote its services.


The company has many opportunities that it can avail to increase its market share and profits. One such opportunity is the broadening of its food menu. The company can include and offer even more food items in its menu as more variety will attract more customers.

The company can partner and spread its services to non-core markets and also develop new models that work in cold climate and weather.

Sonic Drive-In can focus on entering new markets and attract more adolescent generations as they like the fast food more.


The top competitors of Sonic Drive-In include Burger King, Wendy’s and McDonald’s. Among these McDonalds poses the greater threat as it offers a variety of food items at very reasonable prices. Also the number of outlets, retailers, franchisers etc of these companies is, much greater than Sonic Drive-In network of branches. The competitors also have presence in international market but Sonic Drive-In does not.

Entering the fast food industry is easy due to low cost, many potential markets, more demand and ever one wants to access the quick business opportunity.

Threat of fresh entrants: Because the accumulation margins are so small, amount is low and anyone can access into the quick-service restaurant business.

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