Sonic Corp., parent to the 3,500-unit drive-in chain, said second-quarter same-store sales were positive, and driven by inititives surrounding operations and the chain's menu.
Separately, the chain debuted a new line of hot dogs that extends is popular chili-cheese dog offering.
In a preview of results for the second quarter, which ended Feb. 28, Sonic said systemwide same-store sales rose between 1 percent and 1.5 percent. It said corporate drive-ins continued to out-perform the system in the quarter, with same-store sales increasing 2.2 percent. Company owned units account for about 13 percent of the system.
Sonic plans to report full second-quarter results on March 22.
“We are pleased by the ongoing sales improvements we are experiencing and are encouraged that estimated same-store sales for our system, as well as those for our franchisees, have moved into positive territory,” said Clifford Hudson, Sonic’s chairman and chief executive. “Sonic's strengthening same-store sales reflect increasing traction with the operational and food quality initiatives we implemented in fiscal years 2009 and 2010.”
As part of those new initiatives, Sonic introduced three new beef hot dog preparations.
“Sonic's new premium beef hot dogs have an amazing combination of fresh toppings that create a variety of flavor experiences," said Danielle Vona, chief marketing officer for Sonic, based in Oklahoma City.
The lineup now includes four hot dogs, priced at $1.99:
• Chicago Dog, with pickle, relish, tomatoes, hot peppers, chopped onions, celery salt and mustard in a poppy seed bun.
• New York Dog, with spicy mustard, grilled onions and sauerkraut.
• All-American Dog, with ketchup, mustard, relish and chopped onions.
• Chili-Cheese Coney, with chili and melted cheddar cheese.
Last summer, Sonic Corp. introduced the new hot dog product to the chain. At the time, Hudson said the new hot dog, introduced in just the chili and cheese version, would be promoted as an improvement in product quality “both to help drive day parts along the way, but also to assist in moving forward the customer's perception of our brand from a quality standpoint.”
Sonic has drive-ins in 43 states.
Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected].