11 Sonic drive-ins shut, 3 in Manatee

ggaliano@bradenton.comNovember 24, 2010 

BRADENTON -- Three Sonic Drive-Ins in Manatee County along with eight others owned by the same franchise owner on the Gulf Coast closed last week, a casualty of the recession.

Christi Woodworth, a spokesperson for Sonic, said the franchisee closed 11 Sonic Drive-Ins including two in Bradenton and one in Ellenton.

The closed Bradenton locations are at 6008 14th St. W. and 4915 S.R. 64 E. and the Ellenton location is at 6025 U.S. 301 N.

“Over the past few months, Sonic and the franchisee have been evaluating these locations,” Woodworth said in a written statement. “After careful consideration, the franchisee who owns and operates these drive-ins made the difficult decision to close the locations last week due to a softening economy.”

Sonic officials did not disclose how many employees were impacted as a result of the closures which also included its fast food restaurants in Sarasota, Hillsborough, Hernando, Pinellas, Citrus and Levy counties. They did say some were being transferred to other Sonic locations.

However, Sonic’s media relations contact Anita Strohm said Sonic still owes paychecks to its employees.

“Payroll contacted the local managers and they assured us that all employees will be paid and the checks will be sent to their home addresses,” Strohm said.

Sonic’s communications officials did not release the name of the franchisee. Manatee County property records show the locations are registered under a Ridgeland, Miss.-based company, Boyz N Burgers LLC.

Sonic has been struggling recently with same-store sales for the fourth quarter and fiscal year which ended Aug. 31 declining an estimated 6.4 percent for the franchises and 6.1 percent for company-owned drive-ins.

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