Drive-In Ambition

Sonic drive-ins face the future with a new look.
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This story appears in the November 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
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In the 1950s, futurists predicted everything from cars hovering in and out of traffic on "skyways" to neon signs suspended in the sky. Oklahoma City-based Sonic Corp. is revamping the image of its Sonic drive-ins to capture the essence of what "futuristic" meant 40 years ago, creating the "retro future" look.

"We wanted a look that transcended various eras because our concept is one that's stood the test of time," says Sonic's Pattye Moore. Key to the franchise company's retro-future image is its new logo: a double delta displaying the word "Sonic" in the center. Moore says depending on the age group, the logo is reminiscent of Cadillac car fins, "The Jetsons" or even "Star Trek."

Sonic's carhops are encouraged to skate, and inline skates, in particular, are suggested to capture the best of then and now. Other elements of the new look include neon and fiber-optic lighting enveloping a more rounded architectural style.

To date, about 385 of the 1,800-plus drive-ins have adopted the new look. Moore says over the next three years, the majority of Sonic's franchisees will retrofit their locations.

After three years of brainstorming and taking the advice of a brand identity consulting firm, Sonic has seen the future--and it's bright.

Contact Source

Sonic Corp., 101 Park Ave., #1400, Oklahoma City, OK 73102,

Edition: June 2017

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