Many Rochester Sonic Drive-in fans say the combo of hot weather and relentless TV advertising has them craving the chain's slushes and limeade drinks, as well as its hot dogs and burgers.
Unfortunately, the nearest Sonic is in the Twin Cities. Before the recession, Sonic was looking very hard at opening a drive-in in the Med City. Then the Oklahoma City, Okla.-based, burger-and-shake chain put the brakes on its plans to expand into new markets for a while.
Now, as Sonic is gearing up for a new fiscal year to start in September, Rochester is back on the radar.
"We'll soon be actively looking again in your community. We believe it would be a fantastic community for our brand," said Drew Ritger, Sonic's senior vice president of development. "We don't have anybody in Rochester yet that has an interest in a franchise yet, but we will be actively seeing what can be done in the next year."
Factoring in time to find and sign-up a franchisee followed by construction, Ritger said the earliest Sonic could start cooking in Rochester is in about two years.
Sonic has long been hungry for a spot in Rochester's fast-food lineup. I've been chatting with my old pal, Drew, about this since 2007. That's nine long Sonic-less years for the Med City.
He says this region is slated for a lot more attention this fall.
"Cities in Minnesota and Wisconsin are going to be of special interest," Ritger said.
And the interest is mutual. A never-ending string of Sonic TV commercials has been feeding local interest in the drive-in chain.
"Our advertising has given the brand a tremendous boost in your area," he said.