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SONIC’s Maui Drive-In Crew Lead Talks Teamwork and Teri Burgers

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By Jessica Shock

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is a time to recognize the contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans make to our communities. At Inspire, we’re celebrating our AAPI team members and the impact they make every day.

Meet Kamaile Kaina, Crew Lead for SONIC’s first-ever Hawai’i location, which celebrated its grand opening in Maui earlier this year. Kamaile fondly recalls her first SONIC experience in Plano, Texas. “I was introduced to SONIC when I moved to the mainland a few years ago,” she shares. “It was really exciting to see the Carhops with roller-skates and witness how much fun they were having.”

Kamaile quickly applied and began her SONIC career as a Carhop. Besides the skates, she says the people have always been the best part of her job. “It’s all about my coworkers and my guests, and you get to meet a lot of different people. Hearing their experience is always great – so many love to see us skate; they say we’re ‘bringing back the old days’ when we hand-deliver food to cars.”

After three years in Texas, Kamaile received word that Maui was building a SONIC Drive-In. “I was so excited when I found out SONIC was coming to Hawai’i. As soon as I heard about it, I applied,” she says. “Now, I’m back home as a Crew Lead, bringing my experience and knowledge of SONIC to the other carhops.”

While SONIC’s commitment to teamwork and comradery remain consistent from Texas to Hawai’i, there is one major difference for Kamaile: the food. “So many guests come from out of state and tell us, ‘Your menu is so different from the ones we have back home!’ And they’re right.” For Kamaile, the item she always encourages guests to try is Maui’s exclusive SONIC Teriyaki Burger – or, as the staff calls it, the Teri Burger. “It’s not spicy but has a little bit of bite – it’s so good. And with melted cheese on top? That’s my favorite.”

The SONIC Teriyaki “Teri” Burger, available exclusively at the Maui location

Guests and locals alike are Teriyaki Burger fans – Kamaile says their drive-in often receives calls requesting a SONIC open closer to them. “It’s exciting to think there may be opportunities to move to different islands if we open another location, or travel to be part of the opening team,” says Kamaile. “Until then, make a trip down to Maui and try our Teri Burger!”