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Troy N. Smith

Born: 26-May-1922
Birthplace: Oilton, OK
Died: 26-Oct-2009
Location of death: Oklahoma City, OK
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder of Sonic Drive-In

Military service: US Army (WWII)

Troy N. Smith worked as a bread and milk delivery man for several years, saving enough money to buy the Log House, a chicken, shrimp, and steak restaurant in Shawnee, Oklahoma. In a corner of the restaurant's parking lot, Smith opened a small hot dog and hamburger stand in 1953, targeting customers who did not have the money or time for a sit-down dinner, but even Smith was surprised when the hamburger stand, originally called the Top Hat Drive-In, proved more profitable than his full-service restaurant. When he added intercom speakers and a canopy at the drive-in, allowing customers to stay in their cars instead of walking up to a window to place their orders, business more than doubled. A second Top Hat was opened in Woodward, Oklahoma in 1956, but as Smith considered further expansion he learned that the name Top Hat was already used by another restaurant, so in 1959 the Top Hat signs were changed to read Sonic Drive-In, named for the speaker system. Sonic now has more than 3,000 restaurants in 27 American states, and is the largest chain where carhops still bring food to customers in parked cars.

Wife: Dollie Twiggs (m. 1940, one son, one daughter)
Son: Troy Smith Jr. ("Butch", Sonic executive)
Daughter: Leslie Baugh

    High School: Mountain View School, Mountain View, OK
    High School: Seminole High School, Seminole, OK

    Sonic Drive-In Founder & President (1953-85)
    Member of the Board of Sonic Drive-In (as Chairman, 1959-91)
    Veterans of Foreign Wars


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