Oklahoma drive-thru is serving up financial success, despite fast food slump

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahomans grew up going to Sonic for their coney and tots, but for so many, their Sonic experience is just beginning.

"We have over 3,500 drive-ins in 44 states in New York, in New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington, Oregon, California," Claudia San Pedro, VP of investor relations, communications and treasurer, said.

It all started in 1953 in Shawnee.

“Troy Smith opened up his first Top Hat Drive In and then went on to open up other drive-ins, and the first official Sonic drive-in in Stillwater in 1959," San Pedro said.

Since then, America's drive-in has seen success even while other food giants are struggling.

"For us, what's critically important is not just delivering on one thing but everything," San Pedro said.

Part of that means serving breakfast all day and creating a customizable menu.

"What core consumers know about our brand is even if it's not on the menu, we will make it for you," she said.

While McDonald's shares dropped 6.7 percent in the past month,  Sonic is seeing an increase, according to Nasdaq.

However, it wasn't always that way.

They, like everyone else, were hit by the recession.

"We spent a lot of time looking at our brand and looking at what consumers really wanted,” she said.

Another ingredient has also helped.

"These are two guys that you could probably relate to that you either knew in college or know now that are very approachable, not your high gloss commercial that you might see from a quick service restaurant," she said.

It’s just a little drive-in dream from Oklahoma, and now a nationwide staple to the everyday family.

Sonic recently partnered with the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant.

They’ll work together to come up with new menu items with a healthy theme.

They also plan to add 50 new restaurants next year.

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