Sonic introduced a new Footlong Quarter Pound Coney hot dog at the limited-time price of $2.99 at its 3,500 drive-ins. It is another product Sonic is counting on to boost quality perception among consumers, it said.
A Sonic spokeswoman said the special Coney is “aggressively” priced at $2.99 through Aug. 29, and the company will be assessing in July and August whether to keep that price point or modify it come September.
The revamped beef-pork-blend Coney hot dog, which with this promotion goes from 2.6 ounces to 4 ounces and to a full 12 inches long, is part of Sonic’s product strategy to deal with slumping sales over the past several quarters. In the spring, Sonic introduced a new “Real Ice Cream” recipe.
In a conference call with analysts last week, Clifford Hudson, chairman and chief executive of Oklahoma City-based Sonic Corp., said the new hot dog with chili and cheese 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.”
Hudson said he expected customers to order side items with the Coney.
“It’s virtually guaranteed they'll buy a drink,” he said during the call. “It would be hard to eat a quarter-pound, foot-long Coney without having a drink. But in the test that we did, we also had a majority of the customers buy a side order as well, tots, rings, etc., and so in that case ... the side order drives up check considerably. It is a promotion that's intended to focus on lunch and dinner, primarily.”
Steve Vaughn, chief financial officer, said the Coney is contributing about 5 percent of sales.
Comtact Ron Ruggless at [email protected].