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Former Sonic leader talks Hobby Lobby at Frederick Chamber

FREDERICK  The chief investment officer of an Oklahoma City-based retail chain and former president of a fast-food restaurant chain outlined his career at the annual Frederick Chamber of Commerce last week.

Scott McClain is chief operating officer for Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby. He is also former president of Sonic Industries, another Oklahoma City-based firm that operates the nation's largest fast-food drive-in restaurant chain, Sonic Drive-ins.

McLain outlined his 17-year career from 1996 to 2013 at Sonic, which is headquartered in Oklahoma City, including a presentation of the company's history starting with the opening of a drive-in restaurant in Shawnee in 1953, the first drive-in restaurant in the U.S. to use a speaker intercom system for taking orders from customers' cars to provide "Service at the Speed of Sound"  which ultimately led the company to adopt the name Sonic for its restaurants in 1959.

McLain said that during his years at Sonic the chain made a number of changes to become more competitive in the fast-food industry and increase profitability, such as adoption of one single menu for all of its restaurants; adding a breakfast menu; emphasizing ice cream and slush drinks; two remodeling efforts; and the addition of a "happy hour" each day. It also stepped up of its advertising campaign including TV spots. McLain said that during the 17-year period he was with Sonic the chain went from 1,500 to 3,600 restaurants and also saw dramatic increases in sales.

"The Sonic brand gave many people the opportunity to be come successful in business," he said. "It was an awesome company to work for."

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