Medina Journal-Register — After airing television commercials in the area for years, Sonic Drive-In is finally coming to the Buffalo Niagara region.
On Monday the popular national chain announced expansion plans with a franchise agreement that will bring eight new restaurants to the area within the next six years. The nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants has reached a deal with franchisee Kevin DiPirro to develop the locations, with the first planned to open in the spring of 2015. The eight drive-in locations will extend throughout Niagara and Erie counties, but specific locations have not been determined.
With five existing drive-ins located in the state of New York, the new agreement — along with the agreement announced in June that will bring six new locations to Rochester over the next four years — will more than triple the Sonic presence in the state, the restaurant chain said. 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 local ownership of 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, the chain said in a statement.
“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,” DiPirro said. “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 is the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants with more than 3,500 drive-ins serving approximately 3 million customers every day.