Sonic Drive-In Overview

Sonic Drive-In operates and franchises a chain of quick-service drive-in restaurants in the United States. It operated 3,593 Sonic Drive-Ins in 45 states as of August 31, 2017, of which 228 the company owns and operates and 3,365 franchisees own and operate. Sonic Drive-In also owns and leases 135 properties and sublease 53 properties to franchisees and other parties. Troy Smith founded it as Top Hat Drive-In on June 18, 1953 that became Sonic in 1959, with its headquarters in Oklahoma City in Oklahoma.
The staff at Sonic Drive-In come from unusually diverse demographic backgrounds. The company is 59.9% female and 39.3% ethnic minorities. Sonic Drive-In employees are more likely to be members of the Republican Party than the Democratic Party, with 55.0% of employees identifying as members of the Republican Party. But those numbers could change quickly because the turnover rate at Sonic Drive-In is relatively high. Employees at Sonic Drive-In stay with the company for an average of 2.6 years before leaving. The average employee at Sonic Drive-In makes $27,013 per year. In comparison, some of its highest paying competitors, like CKE Restaurants Holdings, Panera Bread, and Chipotle Mexican Grill, pay $55,377, $32,973, and $32,507, respectively.
Based in Oklahoma City, OK, Sonic Drive-In is a key player in the hospitality industry with 5,000 employees and an annual revenue of $423.6M.

The Organization’s Mission

To surprise and delight everyone touched by the SONIC brand.

Sonic Drive-In Reviews

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Zippia UserMay 2022


Zippia Official LogoZippia UserMay 2022

What Do You Like About Working There?

The environment, the customers, new experiences, being able to be myself.

What DON'T You Like About Working There?

The pay, no benefits, no free food.

What Are Your Favorite Benefits/Perks?

50% off food and free drinks.
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Zippia UserOctober 2021


Zippia Official LogoZippia UserOctober 2021

What Do You Like About Working There?

the people you work with are nice

What DON'T You Like About Working There?

some customes are rude

What Are Your Favorite Benefits/Perks?

you get to eat one free meal if its under 8 dollars
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Zippia UserSeptember 2021


Zippia Official LogoZippia UserSeptember 2021

What Do You Like About Working There?

I really love the atmosphere and the people I worked with. I liked the fast pace of the job.

What DON'T You Like About Working There?

The pay was very low for the amount of work that was done, because they expected us to earn enough through tips. However, we would rarely be tipped.

What Are Your Favorite Benefits/Perks?

Discounted food and free drinks on the job
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Zippia UserAugust 2021


Zippia Official LogoZippia UserAugust 2021

What Do You Like About Working There?

I like working with my friends.

What DON'T You Like About Working There?

I don’t like how hot it is.

What Are Your Favorite Benefits/Perks?

My favorite part is how I made friends.
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Zippia UserAugust 2021


Zippia Official LogoZippia UserAugust 2021

What Do You Like About Working There?

Fast-paced, never boring.

What DON'T You Like About Working There?

Having to be in customer service.

What Are Your Favorite Benefits/Perks?

A good part-time schedule.
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The Team At Sonic Drive-In

Key People

Troy Smith

Sonic Drive-In Company Rankings

Sonic Drive-In is ranked #3 on the Best Hospitality Companies to Work For in Oklahoma list. Zippia's Best Places to Work lists provide unbiased, data-based evaluations of companies. Rankings are based on government and proprietary data on salaries, company financial health, and employee diversity.

Read more about how we rank companies.

Sonic Drive-In Salaries

Salary Score
The national average salary for a Sonic Drive-In employee in the United States is $27,013 per year. Employees in the top 10 percent can make over $38,000 per year, while employees at the bottom 10 percent earn less than $18,000 per year.
Average Sonic Drive-In Salary
$27,013 yearly
Updated November 18, 2022
10 %
90 %
Average Employee Earnings

Highest Paying Jobs At Sonic Drive-In

RankJob TitleAvg. SalaryHourly Rate
2Assistant Manager$29,721$14
3Shift Manager$27,947$13
4Switchboard Operator$27,653$13
5Crew Leader$26,985$13
6Shift Leader$26,819$13
7Fountain Worker$25,268$12
9Crew Member$24,902$12
11Fast Food Worker$24,802$12
13Car Hop$24,581$12

Sonic Drive-In Demographics Summary

Diversity Score
We calculated the diversity score of companies by measuring multiple factors, including the ethnic background, gender identity, and language skills of their workforce.

Sonic Drive-In Gender Distribution


Research Summary. Using a database of 30 million profiles, Zippia estimates demographics and statistics for Sonic Drive-In. Our estimates are verified against BLS, Census, and current job openings data for accuracy. After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Sonic Drive-In has 5,000 employees.

  • 60% of Sonic Drive-In employees are women, while 40% are men.

  • The most common ethnicity at Sonic Drive-In is White (61%).

  • 17% of Sonic Drive-In employees are Hispanic or Latino.

  • 13% of Sonic Drive-In employees are Black or African American.

  • The average employee at Sonic Drive-In makes $27,013 per year.

  • Sonic Drive-In employees are most likely to be members of the republican party.

  • On average, employees at Sonic Drive-In stay with the company for 2.6 years.

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Sonic Drive-In Employee Political Affiliation

Sonic Drive-In employees are most likely to be members of the Republican Party. The largest donation made to a political party by a Sonic Drive-In employee was by James Hudson. James Hudson donated $111,200 to the Democratic Party.

Sonic Drive-In


Republican Party

55.4 %

Democratic Party

42.2 %


1.2 %

Libertarian Party

1.2 %
Employee Political Donations
NameJob TitlePartyDonation
James HudsonExecutiveDemocratic Party$111,200
Clifford HudsonBusiness ExecutiveDemocratic Party$44,080
Cliff HudsonExecutiveDemocratic Party$43,200
Elizabeth KerganCo-OwnerRepublican Party$10,750
TED KerganOwnerRepublican Party$10,300
J HudsonBusiness ExecutiveDemocratic Party$10,000
ANN KerganCo-OwnerRepublican Party$8,100
Claudia SAN PedroVice PresidentDemocratic Party$6,600
Paige BassExecutiveDemocratic Party$5,500
ANN MannSales/MarketingRepublican Party$4,535
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Sonic Drive-In Financial Performance

Performance Score
We calculated the performance score of companies by measuring multiple factors, including revenue, longevity, and stock market performance.

Sonic Drive-In Annual Revenue


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Sonic Drive-In Competitors

Some of the competitors of Sonic Drive-In are CKE Restaurants Holdings, Panera Bread, and Chipotle Mexican Grill. Employees at CKE Restaurants Holdings earn more than most of the competition, with an average yearly salary of $55,377. The employees at Panera Bread earn an average yearly salary of $32,973 per year, and the salaries at Chipotle Mexican Grill average $32,507 per year.
Average Salarydesc

CKE Restaurants Holdings

Salary Range37k - 81k$55k$55,377
Panera Bread
Salary Range26k - 41k$33k$32,973
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Salary Range25k - 41k$33k$32,507
Jack in the Box
Salary Range24k - 39k$31k$30,716
Pizza Hut
Salary Range23k - 35k$29k$28,541
Little Caesars
Salary Range23k - 33k$28k$27,793
Buffalo Wild Wings
Salary Range21k - 35k$28k$27,704
Salary Range22k - 34k$28k$27,656
Steak 'n Shake
Salary Range21k - 35k$28k$27,651
Ruby Tuesday
Salary Range21k - 34k$27k$27,459

Frequently Asked Questions about Sonic Drive-In

When was Sonic Drive-In founded?

Sonic Drive-In was founded in 1953.

How many Employees does Sonic Drive-In have?

Sonic Drive-In has 5,000 employees.

How much money does Sonic Drive-In make?

Sonic Drive-In generates $423.6M in revenue.

What industry is Sonic Drive-In in?

Sonic Drive-In is in the restaurants industry.

What is Sonic Drive-In's mission?

Sonic Drive-In's mission statement is "To surprise and delight everyone touched by the SONIC brand."

What type of company is Sonic Drive-In?

Sonic Drive-In is a public company.

Who are Sonic Drive-In's competitors?

Sonic Drive-In competitors include Wendy's, Panera Bread, Pizza Hut, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Ruby Tuesday, CKE Restaurants Holdings, Applebee's Canada, Subway, Red Lobster, Burger King, Dairy Queen, Jack in the Box, Culver's, McDonald's, Steak 'n Shake, Little Caesars, Arby's, Taco Bell, KFC.

Who works at Sonic Drive-In?

Troy Smith (Founder)

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Sonic Drive-In FAQs

Does Sonic Drive-in Drug Test?

No, Sonic Drive-In does not drug test employees before or during employment. However, if the company suspects that an employee is under the influence while working, it may ask that employee to take a drug test.

Does Sonic Drive-in Hire Felons?

Yes, Sonic Drive-In does hire felons. The company conducts background checks on employees before hire, but is generally receptive to hiring individuals with prior felony convictions. The company makes these decisions on a case-by-case basis, and certain felonies, like theft, larceny, or sex crimes, may disqualify a candidate from being hired.

How Do You Answer, "Why Are You Interested In Working For Sonic Drive-in"?

You should answer the question, "Why are you interested in working for Sonic Drive-In?" by focusing on your passion for providing a fun and affordable dining experience for customers, as well as your desire to work for one of the world's most beloved restaurant chains.

How Do You Write A Cover Letter For A Job At Sonic Drive-in?

You should write a cover letter for a job at Sonic Drive-In by highlighting any passion you have for providing a fun and affordable dining experience, as well as any customer service or food preparation experience you may have. Be sure to mention if you're a fan of the restaurant, as well as any of your favorite menu items.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Work At Sonic Drive-in?

You have to be at least 16 years old to work at Sonic Drive-In. For some entry-level positions, such as carhop or kitchen positions, a store may be willing to hire a person who is only 15 years old. This is done on a case-by-case basis and is at the discretion of the hiring manager (and as allowed by a location's local labor laws).

What Benefits Does Sonic Drive-in Offer?

The benefits offered by Sonic Drive-In include a flexible schedule, paid time off, and health and wellness benefits. The benefits offered may differ for full-time and part-time employees.

What Is The Dress Code At Sonic Drive-in?

The dress code at Sonic Drive-In is generally uniform, consisting of a company-issued shirt, dark jeans or pants, and a hat or visor with the Sonic Drive-In logo. The dress code prohibits non-company shirts, sweatpants, and open-toed shoes. Some aspects are dictated by food safety standards.

What Is The Hiring Process For Sonic Drive-in?

The hiring process for Sonic Drive-In is fairly similar for all positions, and involves submitting an application, followed by an in-person interview. The hiring process for all positions, including management and crew member positions, generally takes one to three weeks, but sometimes less than one week for entry-level roles.

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Zippia gives an in-depth look into the details of Sonic Drive-In, including salaries, political affiliations, employee data, and more, in order to inform job seekers about Sonic Drive-In. The employee data is based on information from people who have self-reported their past or current employments at Sonic Drive-In. The data on this page is also based on data sources collected from public and open data sources on the Internet and other locations, as well as proprietary data we licensed from other companies. Sources of data may include, but are not limited to, the BLS, company filings, estimates based on those filings, H1B filings, and other public and private datasets. While we have made attempts to ensure that the information displayed are correct, Zippia is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of this information. None of the information on this page has been provided or approved by Sonic Drive-In. The data presented on this page does not represent the view of Sonic Drive-In and its employees or that of Zippia.

Sonic Drive-In may also be known as or be related to SONIC CORP, Sonic Boom Corporation, Sonic Corp, Sonic Corp., Sonic Corporation, Sonic Drive-In and sonic drive thru.