Troy N. Smith, Sr. opened a restaurant that would become the first Sonic Drive-In at Stillwater, Oklahoma in 1953. Smith's original plan was to tear down the existing small walk up root beer stand, called the "Top Hat", and open a steakhouse in the log cabin that was on the site. After realizing that the stand was averaging $700.00 a week in the sale of root beer, hamburgers and hot dogs Smith decided to keep the stand open and never continued on the planned steakhouse. Originally at the Top Hat customers would park anywhere on the gravel lot and walk up to place their orders. However, on a trip to Louisiana, Smith saw a drive-in that utilized speakers for ordering. He realized that he could increase his sales if he could control the parking and have the customers order from speakers at their cars. Carhops would then deliver the food to the customers. Smith borrowed several cars from a friend who owned a used car lot to establish a layout for controlled parking. He also had some so called "jukebox boys" come in and wire an intercom system in the parking lot. Sales tripled immediately and his little root beer stand was a huge success. Entrepreneur Charles Woodrow Pappe stopped by chance at the Shawnee drive-in and was very impressed. He got out of his car and began to take measurements of the stalls, trying to figure out why they were not all the same size, assuming that it was an essential ingredient of the business plan. Smith came out and introduced himself and explained that the stalls were different sizes simply because different-sized cars had been used when he laid everything out. The two men hit it off and negotiated the first franchise location in Woodward, Oklahoma, in 1956. By 1958, two more drive-ins were built in Enid and Shawnee, Oklahoma. Upon learning that the Top Hat name was already trademarked, Troy Smith and Charles Pappe changed the name to Sonic. The new name worked with their existing slogan "Service with the Speed of Sound". After the name change, the first Sonic sign was installed at the former Top-Hat Drive-In Stillwater, Oklahoma. This location has been considered to be the first Sonic Drive-In, and the original sign can still be seen in Stillwater. While Smith and Pappe were being asked to help open new franchise locations, however, there was no royalty plan in place. The pair decided to have their paper company charge an extra penny for each Sonic label hamburger bag they sold. The proceeds were to split half for Smith and half for Pappe. The first franchise contracts under this plan were drawn up by Smith's landlord O.K. Winterringer, who was also a lawyer. At the time, there was no joint marketing plan or standardized menu and few operating requirements. our old buddy troy didn't know what he had started...now people are cruising sonics all over the world. i should have stayed,i was a carhop at the original old top hat,then sonic when i was 12....i could be stinking rich now.