For 60 years, OKC drive-in chain
shows ‘This is how you Sonic'
Maybe they should bring back the birthday cake shake. Oklahoma City-based Sonic Drive-In is celebrating 60 years in business. The restaurant chain — famously known for its carhop service — can be traced back to 1953 when a small root beer stand called Top Hat opened in Shawnee. Now, the brand boasts more than 3,500 locations nationwide and serves 3 million customers a day.
1953: Troy Smith opens Top Hat in Shawnee, featuring an intercom system and carhop delivery. Within five years, there are four locations.
1959: The drive-ins are renamed Sonic for “service with the speed of sound.”
1973: Sonic allows operators to buy stock, becoming an over-the-counter publicly traded company.
1991: Sonic completes an initial public offering and Sonic stock begins trading on the Nasdaq under the symbol SONC.
1999: The 2,000th drive-in opens in Oklahoma City.
2003: The “Two Guys” commercials, featuring improvisational actors T.J. Jagodowski and Peter Grosz, begin airing to a national audience.
2003: Sonic turns 50, has more than 2,700 drive-ins and systemwide sales of more than $23 billion.
2012: Sonic brings back the “Two Guys.”
FROM STAFF REPORTS