Wyandotte Nation to open Sonic Drive-In; marks first agreement between Sonic, Native American tribe

The Wyandotte Nation is bringing a Sonic Drive-In to Seneca, Mo., as part of the Tribe’s ongoing push for economic diversification. Seneca is located about 10 miles from Wyandotte, Okla., where the Tribe is headquartered.

“The opportunity to put a Sonic Drive-In in Seneca that will serve surrounding communities is really enticing to us,” said Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma CEO Kelly Carpino. Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma (WTOK), the Wyandotte Nation’s federally chartered corporation, drives economic development for the Tribe. “It brings something to the area we think is needed, and gives a boost to these local economies.”


The expected completion date for the Sonic Drive-In, located on Hwy 43 and just off of Hwy 60, is the beginning of October.

According to Bob Franke, senior vice president of franchise sales and international development for Sonic, this marks the first development agreement with a Native American tribe for the Sonic system.

“We’re excited about the potential to support economic development in the community and hope success with the Wyandotte Nation serves as a model for others,” Franke stated in a Sonic press release.


Oklahoma City-based Sonic Corp. is the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants with more than 3,500 corporate and franchise stores.

“The Wyandotte Nation brings an appetite and acumen for operating businesses with high consumer appeal that create new jobs and stimulate business growth,” said Cliff Hudson, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Sonic Corp. “They know the community desires the SONIC experience, and with our unit economics, SONIC is the perfect business opportunity.

“We also feel a personal connection because both SONIC and the Wyandotte Nation have their roots in Oklahoma. Native American tribes represent a very important part of our community here in the heartland, a significant business driver in our region and a contributor to economic activity and job creation nationwide.”

Carpino said the Sonic will have a modern layout with 21 stalls and a drive through. She said it will bring 30-35 full and part-time jobs to the area.

She said the Nation had been exploring franchise opportunities to continue to grow its business interests.

“It creates another direction, another diversified enterprise for the Wyandotte Nation,” Carpino said. “We’re excited about that. It gives us a lot of growth opportunity to potentially develop additional restaurants in the future.”

The WTOK business enterprises include telecommunications, IT, food service, precision manufacturing and the entertainment industry. The Tribe’s economic development supports various programs for tribal citizens, including healthcare, housing, and education programs.

“We have looked at several concepts. What eventually brought us to Sonic was the opportunity to become part of a very recognizable brand,” Carpino said. “The effectiveness of Sonic’s media and promotional strategy along with an amazing product line drew our attention to the Sonic franchise. The decision was solidified by Sonic’s new small building prototype that is a perfect fit for smaller, secondary markets within Sonic’s core.”

Carpino said the Wyandotte Nation likes the idea of locating in smaller communities, such as Seneca, making Sonic a great choice.

“The Wyandotte Nation really likes to be a supporter of the local communities. If we can do things to benefit those communities, that is an added bonus for us,” she said.


About the Wyandotte Nation

The Wyandotte Nation is a federally recognized Native American tribe headquartered in Wyandotte, Okla. The Tribe has more than 5,000 tribal members nationwide. The Wyandotte Nation was instrumental in the founding of Detroit, Mich., and Kansas City, Kansas. At one time Kansas City was named Wyandotte City. Counties named ‘Wyandotte’ exist in Michigan, Ohio and Kansas.


About SONIC, America’s Drive-In

SONIC®, America’s Drive-In®, is the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants with more than 3,500 drive-ins serving approximately 3 million customers every day. Over the past 60 years, SONIC has delighted guests with signature menu items, more than 1 million drink combinations, friendly service by iconic Carhops and ongoing support of education through its award-winning Limeades for Learning® program. SONIC received top honors as America’s “#1 burger quick service restaurant” in the 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings report. For more information about Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ/NM: SONC) and its subsidiaries, please visit sonicdrivein.com. Customers can also connect with SONIC at facebook.com/sonicdrivein or on Twitter @sonicdrive_in.

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