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Value options boost Sonic Q3 traffic

CEO says brand puts emphasis on ‘compelling price points’

Sonic Corp.’s value messaging helped the drive-in operator improve sales trends as the third quarter progressed, the company said Tuesday.

The Oklahoma City, Okla.-based company said same-store sales declined 0.2 percent systemwide in the third quarter ended May 31, after the company forecast they would be flat in a pre-release earlier in June. Same-store sales were down 0.2 percent at franchised restaurants and up 0.2 percent at company-owned drive-ins.

"Our third quarter same-store sales performance reflects a material improvement in trend, driven by ongoing initiatives to increase marketing reach, refresh our advertising creative and introduce relevant new products, including the Sonic Signature Slinger and Pretzel Twist," said Cliff Hudson, Sonic CEO, in a statement.

For the third quarter, Sonic’s net income rose 15.1 percent to $21.6 million, or 58 cents a share, from $18.8 million, or 44 cents a share, in the same period last year. Revenues declined 4.6 percent to $118.3 million from $124 million in the prior-year quarter.

"We continued to support a simplified everyday value message via the Carhop Classic promotion in April and May, which featured a Quarter-Pound Double Cheeseburger or Signature Slinger and Tots for $2.99,” Hudson said. “These broadly appealing value options offer compelling price points and are key to our efforts to drive traffic and increase sales.”

Hudson said Sonic had a “successful operational test” of its mobile order-ahead technology in the third quarter and will continue to roll that out in the current fourth quarter.

Sonic has about 3,600 drive-ins nationwide.

Contact Ron Ruggless at r[email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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