Industry News | February 18, 2002

Sonic Drive-In Recognizes Customer Service Excellence

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As athletes worldwide prepared to compete in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, a select group of ten Sonic Drive-In crews followed a strict training regimen to qualify for the eighth annual Dr Pepper Sonic Games, January 28 and 29, 2002, in Las Vegas.

The company reported that after two days of rigorous competition between qualifying teams from across the Sonic system, the Phoenix Sonic Drive-In, 3330 E. Thomas, emerged as the Gold Medal winner in the Team Competition, making it the top Sonic Drive-In in the nation.

"Our team is thrilled to bring home the gold medal from the Dr Pepper Sonic Games," said Ivy Nelson, manager of the winning Phoenix team. "We worked very hard and it was a great experience to be part of the Games." Christi Ruiz, Duncanville, Texas, took home the gold in the Carhop Competition. “I did the same thing I do every day that I work at Sonic—deliver orders as quickly as possible in a friendly way,” said Ruiz.

The Dr Pepper Sonic Games were created to motivate employees and enhance their performance and customer service skills. Sonic Drive-In uses this program to maintain its status as a preferred employer by making crew members proud of their job while enhancing customer service.

“Because Sonic offers such a differentiated menu and service delivery system, having well-trained, enthusiastic, and motivated crew members is a number one priority for us,” said Pattye Moore, president of Sonic Corp. Sonic Games is one of the most exciting and unique programs in our industry because it provides training, focus on customer service and great rewards in a way that is competitive and fun.”

The competition at each individual drive-in consists of crew members competing at six basic stations: Fountain (drink preparation), Carhop (food delivery), Dresser, Grill and Swamp (food preparation), and Switchboard (service delivery). Crew members at each station competed separately through written quizzes and action trials. As individual contests are conducted, the entire drive-in competes head-to-head with other Sonic Drive-Ins through mystery shops. An independent organization specializing in anonymously rating, or mystery shopping, the quality of a company's customer service, visits and scores the service at each participating drive-in. Each drive-in is judged on specific objective criteria based on its importance to the customer.

Sonic, which specializes in made-to-order fast food, is known for its specialty menu items and personal Carhop service. Popular menu items include Toaster Sandwiches (Chicken Club and Bacon Cheddar Burger on thick Texas Toast), Extra-Long Cheese Coneys (hot dogs with chili and cheese), hamburgers, fresh-made Onion Rings, Tater Tots and a variety of Frozen and Fountain FavoritesTM such as Cream Pie Shakes and Cherry Limeades. Sonic has more than twenty-four hundred drive-ins in thirty states.