Sonic has hired two senior directors of franchise sales to spur further growth. Steve Bailey and Craig Sherwood will work with the existing franchise sales team to further accelerate the brand's expansion in both existing and new markets nationwide.
"Our growth targets are ambitious, but we are building our franchise sales team with the right people to help us meet demand as we push boundaries and make waves in the next few years," said Bob Franke, senior vice president of franchise sales and international development for Sonic, in a press release. "Though we are a national brand with over 3,500 drive-in locations, there are still significant franchise opportunities, particularly in the northern and coastal states. Steve, Craig and the entire development team are focused on making Sonic accessible to fans throughout the country, offering a differentiated franchise concept to serious partners in markets large and small."
Bailey will lead franchise development for 16 Central U.S. states from Minnesota to Florida. His first focus will be strong franchise development in the Atlanta market. There are currently 48 Drive-Ins in the Atlanta area, and Bailey plans to expand this footprint quickly. Bailey's other priorities will be expanding in Southern states while achieving growth in the Northern states by leveraging the brand's new indoor dining prototypes suited for colder weather.
Bailey most recently worked at Einstein Bros Bagels. Previously, Bailey held roles with Checkers Drive-In and Dairy Queen, beginning his career in operations at Pizza Hut.
Sherwood will lead franchise development for 16 Western U.S. states from Texas to Washington, focusing on states with significant growth opportunity. He will focus on signing new franchise agreements with partners varying in size throughout the region, with an emphasis in California. The state currently has 60 drive-in locations, but plans are in the works to reach a total of 300 locations by 2020. In addition, Sherwood will be focusing on an airport expansion initiative, bringing Sonic to busy airports throughout the country.
Sherwood comes to Sonic with operational and development experience, most recently serving as vice president of franchise development at Fazoli's. Prior to Fazoli's, Sherwood led franchise development at Corner Bakery Cafe, producing record-setting growth for the brand, and was instrumental in leading non-traditional development for Yum! Brands.
Read more about franchising and growth.