Peabody, MA--Sonic opens its first area location after creating a strong media presence in the Boston market. Now that the restaurant has finally opened on Route 1 in Peabody, it does so to long lines and high expectations. Offering a retro '50s style hamburger diner, Sonic does have an edge over their local competition of fast food chains. It shows with a successful opening, but consumers of the area know that buzz and a strong first week does not mean stable business for chains and franchises.
Locals who frequent Route 1 have seen many large chain stores and restaurants fail within a short time after opening. This was seen in 1998 with the closing of Nobody Beats The Wiz’s flagship store on Route 1 in Saugus after one year. It was also seen in 2005 when, after a large television and newspaper advertisement blitz in the Boston area, Krispy-Kreme Doughnuts shut down after only sixteen months. Because of instances like this, consumers may be disillusioned by the glamour and glitz of the Sonic opening, which wears off only too soon for most patrons.
However, the Sonic dining experience may actually be unique enough to hold interest. There are three ways in which to pick-up your meal. You can use the drive-through window for takeout, you can park your car and eat outside in the picnic table area, or pull into a designated slot and place your order via a two-way speaker system. For the last instance, a member of the waitstaff delivers the food right through your car window--all while on roller-skates.
The menu boasts low price-points, and the quality falls in line with the cost. For an average of $7 a person, each member of the family can get a large soft-drink or juice, a large side such as fries, onion rings, or tatter-tots, and a hamburger or hotdog. It is slightly more than the average Mac Donald's meal ($6.50), but the food is better. Not to mention, Sonic wins on menu variety: corn dogs, chili dogs, chili fires, cheddar fries, and popcorn chicken are all unique items that help the menu standout when contrasted with their competition. And no one can out-do Sonic in the drink department. They offer lime-aid drinks, soft-drinks, assorted teas and coffees (cold and hot), milk shakes, malteds, floats, and for a traditional soda drinker, dozens of syrup flavors such as watermelon, strawberry and cherry. Watermelon Coke, anyone?
The retro '50s diner concept is one that young eaters will find unique, while older generations will enjoy the nostalgia. The enjoyment over the food, however, is something that diners from every generation can share in common. Considering that you can choose to sit and enjoy a unique way to dine, or utilize the drive-through for instant gratification, it caters to the varying needs of its customers. Sonic has the potential to become a restaurant staple, a destination for people to travel to for a dining experience unlike most in the area. Until the success of this location paves the way for a bombardment of Sonics that is.
Image of actual Sonic Hamburger embedded from http://www.sonicdrivein.com/.