Management Pratices at Sonic Corp.

Essay by Brian D. LamersUniversity, Ph.D.A-, October 1996

download word file, 6 pages 4.1


In 1953 Sonic Corporation was founded by Tony Smith in Shawnee, Oklahoma under a different name of the Top Hat. Tony Smith started the company as a drive-in restaurant featuring hot dogs, hamburgers, and french-fried onion rings. In the mid-50s Smith was asked by Charles Pappe for assistance in establishing a similar restaurant in a rural town also located in Oklahoma. This was the beginning of a partnership between the two men .


In 1991 Sonic Corporation was the fifth largest chain in the fast-food industry, servicing in the hamburger segment, behind McDonald's, Burger King, Hardee's, and Wendy's. Sonic has and is still carrying the tradition of being a high-quality franchise-based organization in the Sunbelt states. The following case will be broke down into five different stages beginning with early strategies,

problems, new strategies, a ratio analysis, and a recommendation.



Tony Smith introduced the Top Hat as a drive-in restaurant that reduced start up cost by not having eat-in space.

This new restaurant featured drive-in stalls for automobiles, that were equipped with a two-way intercom enabling customers to order as soon as they drove in, opposed to conventional practices of waiting for a carhop to take an order. Delivery of the fresh fast-quality products was do to the unique design of the kitchen, and the use of carhops.

Sonic Corporation preferred to do things as easy as possible and avoid sophistication. Another strategy Smith implemented was a collection of franchise royalties. This was done in a way such that Sonic franchise holders were required to purchase printed bags at an additional fee that Smith arranged through a paper-goods supplier.

Pyramid-type selling arrangements were formed by franchisees in money making efforts by starting other franchises through friends. This lead to original...