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Sonic Drive-In: A History

Fun Facts

  • The current president of Sonic is Claudia San Pedro
  • There are over 3,600 Sonic restaurants in 44 different states! You can explore them all at https://locations.sonicdrivein.com/.
  • Sonic holds an annual competition every year in Oklahoma City where carhops can show off their fanciest skating skills. Carhops compete for the chance to win custom skates, professional training opportunities, and cash prizes.
  • Sonic gives away enough mints each year to reach the top of the Empire State Building and back to the ground 5,000 times! Troy Smith started the practice of giving mints to customers back when he started Top Hat, as a tradition to remind customers that they were “worth a mint.”

Then vs. Now

  • In 1955 the price of a Top Hat cheeseburger was 45 cents. In 2019 the price of a cheeseburger at Sonic is around $3.89.
  • In 1955 Top Hat’s menu had 17 different items. In 2019 Sonic’s menu features over 70 items, not including the thousands of drink combinations.
  • In 1958 eight people worked at the Stillwater Top Hat drive-in. In 2019 Sonic employs over 4,650 restaurant employees.

Modern-day Sonic restaurant along Route 66 in Albuquerque, New  Mexico (courtesy of the Library of Congress). 6

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