The Ragin’ Cajun Burger at Sonic lives on.
With the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s 2015 football campaign about to get underway Saturday at Kentucky, Gary Wilkerson, president of local Sonic franchise group Kergan Bros., said the popular hamburger is back for this season and maybe many more to come.
“We’re gonna do it forever and ever at this point,” Wilkerson said, “because it’s become … one of our signature promotions.”
The spicy burger — dressed with lettuce, tomato, Tabasco mayonnaise, pepper jack cheese, fried and grilled onions — comes with a packet of Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning on the side and features a UL fleur-de-lis logo embedded on the bun.
In addition to the UL logo, new helmet and football designs are being sold this year.
“You don’t know which one you’re gonna get until you order the famous Ragin’ Cajun Burger,” Wilkerson said.
In a somewhat unique business partnership, the school and restaurant group both benefit from each burger sold. The two sides have a royalty deal, with UL receiving an undisclosed percentage per burger based on its trademarked logo.
The burger sells for $3.99 at Acadiana-area Sonic locations.
During the fourth-month, limited-time offer during football season last year, about 90,000 of the burgers were sold. Those are big numbers in the burger business, Wilkerson suggested.
“Whenever we sell burgers, the university makes money,” he said. “A lot of money. … It’s a win-win for both parties.”
The promotion is starting its fourth season locally.
Wilkerson said that about 10 other Sonic markets tried to do the same two years ago, but it didn’t work nearly as well in those locales.
“There is talk in Sonicland that it only works because Lafayette is such a tight community and (offers) such great support for the Ragin’ Cajuns,” Wilkerson said. “But you can make that same argument at a hundred different cities all across the country for college football. Everybody has a big fan base that is very dedicated, no matter what university it is.”
“They didn’t follow our model on how to execute it … We had a model that worked,” Wilkerson said.
Sonic has received plenty of national attention from the logo promotion, including mention in USA Today and on websites including ESPN and Yahoo! Sports.
“As a graduate of UL,” Wilkerson said, “I was always happy that Lafayette and the university got a tremendous amount of publicity because of this.”