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Celebrating 25 Years of DR PEPPER SONIC GAMES

By Raj Prashad

When SONIC Drive-In launched DR PEPPER SONIC GAMES in 1994, the brand’s goals were ambitious: to create a company-wide training program that could increase operational excellence and guest satisfaction.

During the SONIC Games, drive-ins across the country compete against each other in an immersive, one-of-a-kind training program that begins in January. They’re awarded points based on a variety of team challenges, including digital training modules, quizzes, learning activities and secret shopper events.

While the look and feel of the program has changed over the last 25 years, the foundational purpose to deliver the best guest experience possible remains the same. It’s that purpose-driven structure that has led to the exponential growth of the SONIC Games, with record-breaking enrollment of more than 3,000 drive-ins in 2019.

“Dr Pepper is the proud sponsor of SONIC’s premier training program, which keeps the drive-in crews motivated and striving for continued quality, speed and accuracy to provide exceptional guest service.” Blaine Wood, Director of Sales, Dr Pepper

As the field is trimmed to a ‘Final 12’, the remaining drive-ins receive an all-expenses paid trip to the National SONIC Convention in September, where they compete against each other in the final phase of the Games.

The top three drive-ins are recognized to close out the annual competition, with gold, silver and bronze medals handed out in front of thousands of SONIC franchisees and executives.

Team members are also incentivized throughout the program, with opportunities to win televisions, tablets, gift cards and other electronic devices.

“It’s always exciting to go to drive-ins and see people being recognized and hear team members excited about DR PEPPER SONIC GAMES,” Kevin Knutson, Sr. Director Operation Execution & Training at SONIC, said.

“Carrying over that excitement to our convention, where the Final 12 comes to compete, is something everyone looks forward to. The excitement of the teams that get to participate is an experience like no other.”

The Games reinforces SONIC’s commitment to training, while also creating passionate brand ambassadors who deliver extraordinary guest experiences.

“DR PEPPER SONIC GAMES is the most impactful training program in the industry.


It not only promotes training, but also gives a healthy dose of competition and helps to organically grow team member engagement.” Andy Alsobrook, Franchisee, SONIC Drive-In