SONIC Drive-In – This is how you SONIC



Production / Professional


Candice Hahn, SVP Managing Director, R/GA Katrina Bekessy, Executive Technology Director, R/GA Eric Bee, Product Director, R/GA Murry Wyse, Creative Director, R/GA Page Schmucker, Creative Director, R/GA Thomas Gilner, Design Director, R/GA Juan Pedro Gonzalez, Design Director, R/GA Taichi Kozaki, Senior Experience Designer, R/GA Marie Bachoc, Senior Experience Designer, R/GA Hanna Kang-Brown, Senior Experience Designer, R/GA Eli Perez, Copywriter, R/GA Josh Rooke-Ley, Rodrigo Alvarez, Matthew Yannascoli, Eduardo Rodrigues Mobile Development: Brian Krebs, Gustavo Gelape, Felipe Santolim, Bruno Lazzaro, Antonio Junior, Rafael Letro, Felipe Trova, Guilherme Santana Backend Development: Lambert Torres, Brian Yuen -- Technology Leads, R/GA Tim King, Technology Lead, Quality Assurance, R/GA Adrienne Walpole, Managing Director, Client Services, R/GA Carlos Orozco, Account Director, R/GA Jon Dorch, VP, Digital (Integrated Customer Engagement), Sonic Drive-In Sam Duregger, Director, Product Management, Sonic Drive-In Bradford Ulrich, Sr. Product Owner, User Experience, Sonic Drive-In Doug Cook, VP, Brand Technology, Sonic Drive-In


SONIC attracts a very loyal, very vocal following with their quick service and limitless menu. Knowing that we were attempting to introduce a new mechanic into their customer’s everyday routine, we set out to provide an experience that was easy for consumers to learn while also providing an enhancement to something they had been doing everyday. This meant approaching the concept of the app in a way where experience trumped visual excitement – a flashy visual style in the app would be worthless if we couldn’t deliver an enhanced experience to the customer that was simple to repeat daily. This fueled our approach and manifested into the current app’d design and experience throughout.

With 90,000 drive-in stalls spread across the United States, the mobile app needed to be able to handle a plethora of connected screens at once, flawlessly communicating between the customer and the kitchen in real-time to ensure food was ordered and delivered fresh and fast. On top of that, we wanted to make every user’s experience feel more personalized than the extra items they put into their milkshakes. We put the data we collected about the users to work for us – providing real-time intelligent rewards to users based on their orders, the drive-ins they visited, and even the weather. With upgraded, personalized service presented to the user in an easy-to-use experience, the execution of the mobile app was a resounding success for the brand.

While both apps maintain very high user review scores in both the Apple and Google App Stores, the real benefit has been in shrinking wait times and higher repeat visits from customers. In the app’s short existence, sales are trending upward for orders placed online with more and more users signing up for the app every single day. The end result is a new commerce experience and the ability for SONIC to launch future data-driven marketing and CRM opportunities to drive increased sales and loyalty. In addition, leading up to the national launch of the Order Ahead feature in September 2018, Sonic conducted phased rollouts market-by-market, and a national campaign in October, and has experienced the following use success:
-65% of Order Ahead orders each week are from repeat users;
-Order Ahead tickets are on average 7% higher than non-order ahead tickets;
-Average check-in-to-hop-out time is less than two minutes.


The Interaction Awards are an initiative of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA), a global community of more than 120,000 individuals worldwide dedicated to the professional practice of Interaction Design. Find out how to join your local group and get involved at

© 2012 - 2023 Interaction Design Association