Sonic is the largest drive-in chain in the United States. Under the slogan "America's Drive-In," a Sonic features fast service by roller-skating carhops and unique menu items that cannot be found at McDonalds, Burger King, or Wendys. Sonic restaurants operate in 27 states so it is smaller than leading fast food chains however it is still a significant competitor. Founded by Troy Smith and Charlie Pappe in 1953, Sonic went from a single root beer stand to a popular franchise. In 1973, Sonic restructured as a franchise company and later became Sonic Corporation. The company experienced financial decline due to the lack of consistency from its franchisees so they were bought out by Sonic Corporation and restructured. In 1995, Sonic introduced "Sonic 2000," an aggressive multi-layered strategy to further unify the company in terms of a consistent menu, brand identity, products, packaging, and service. The campaign was successful and Sonic's brand recognition increased. Strengths include a strong competitive nature, flexible strategies, and employee/franchisor relationships. Weaknesses include lack of communication and domestic expansion. Threats in the external environment include company size, employee turnover, weak economy, rivals in similar industries, overseas expansion, and slow growth markets. Sonic can overcome these threats with opportunities such as global expansion, increase in the number of quick service consumers, and appealing investment opportunities. Alternative strategies and recommendations suggest that Sonic should concentrate on a low cost strategy and focusing on niches such as the health food market.
History and Strategy of Sonic Corporation
Sonic Corp. franchises and operates the Unit...
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...rget market Sonic could devote its energy into is the "health freaks" niche. There are those who pursue healthy lifestyles yet have a hard time finding fast food when they are in a hurry. Since Sonic has a reputation for serving unique items, they would have an easier time selling more healthy food products. McDonald's and Burger King have had a difficult time focusing on their niche since they have had a history of being a "greasy burger and fries" joint. This could give Sonic a competitive advantage to take on those industry giants. Sonic is a significant competitor in its core markets, and it beats national chains on service measures such as customer satisfaction and loyalty. With these strategic implementations, Sonic has the potential to put down competitors such as McDonald's because the market is always changing and one company cannot remain number one forever.
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