Sonic’s Historically Disastrous Stock Buyback Program

Between 1998 and 2008, you may have noticed that Sonic drive-thrus didn’t change much. The same remote ordering technology. The same burgers. The same items. Prices that might have increased here and there. But nothing meaningful you could point to and say, “This is different than it was ten years ago.”

That was not a coincidence.

In 1998, Sonic was earning $30 million per year in total profits and had $100 million in debt. That was a slightly better than average balance sheet for a fast food operator.

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