Sonic Needs Competition PDF Print E-mail
Kitchen - Restaurant ideas
Written by Graydon   
Friday, 24 March 2006
Sonic Drive-In is a great place.  They tend to have some decent burgers and I think everybody loves their drinks... whether it's a Cherry Coke, Vanilla Dr. Pepper or a Limeade mixin.  We go there too much for the drinks.  But it's given me an opportunity to think about why I like them (drinks), what I don't like about them (price) and what could be exploited in the weaknesses.  Then I figured it out...
... Sonic needs some competition.  Not a flat out equal for equal challenge... but one up them on the item that I've seen more people go there for... Just the DRINKS!
I'm paying about US$1.50 for a "32oz" soda here locally.  Which is a complete rip-off.  I was thirsty one day, finished off the drink pretty fast and still had most of the pellet-ice they use.  So, I grabbed a can of soda and started pouring.  You know what?  I couldn't get the full 12 oz in the "32 oz" cup.
Now, it's no surprise that they and every other place fills the thing up with ice so that they can give you less soda.  And yes, I could ask for less ice (but that opens it up for the employee to screw it up - which is another complaint, there customer service can suck depending upon the store).
Anyways... so how do I propose you compete with Sonic... by also taking on Starbucks.
Very specialized drive-through that only serves drinks (soda / coffee)... and if needed some of those pre-packaged fat rolls (doughnuts) from the likes of Dolly Maddison or Hostess.  Make it small and simple.  The employee section inside should be layed out for quick serving.
The drinks should be able to be mixed with just about any reasonable flavor (vanilla, cherry, orange, grape, watermellon, blue coconut, etc...)
The coffee should be the basic kind with some twists (I'm not a coffee drinker so you'll have to figure out what to do about coffee).
Location, Price and Name are the next key factors here...
Location - figure out a place where those heading off to work in the morning can make a easy exit to you and just as easily get going again.  Someone just opened up a Starbucks drive through nearby... I still can't figure out how you get into the drive through line.  Since you are going for small footprint, I'm thinking you could easily do some type of large kiosk setup in a parking lot if you wanted to really go cheap.
Price - No use charging a buck fifty like Sonic does... it doesn't do enough to lure someone away... and it still makes me feel guilty spending that much on $0.20 worth of product.  I think the magic price point is $1.00 even.  Don't worry about the price for different sizes... just serve one size... at a buck, it would still be cheaper than the small at other places.
Name - Gotta have something catchy and descriptive... I've been hanging on to "Jet Fuel Express".  Just about sums up the business and products... caffiene and quickly. 
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 April 2006 )
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