1/12/2011

SONIC survival guide

TIPS, TRICKS AND GIMMICKS TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR SONIC EXPERIENCE
  • SONIC has a spectacular web site.  handy for all your SONIC needs, but especially good for finding a store near you and determining the caloric value of everything you consume.
  • always ask for your receipt.  not only does this ensure you're being charged the right amount (if not, you can call the manager on the receipt and score a freebie for your hardship), but many times a customer survey is attached.  when you call in the customer survey, you get a free route 44 (XL - sized) drink.
  • if you have any kind of problem with your order, call the manager first before you try the general customer service number.  it keeps whatever problem you have from escalating.  every manager i've ever talked to has gone out of their way to make things right.
  • the SONIC customer service number is 1-866-OK-SONIC (1-866-657-6642) -- 24 hours a day.  the people on the line there are always super-responsive and super-friendly.  if you're calling because someone has screwed up an order, they'll apologize (like all 800 number people are supposed to), make sure you always say what i say, "it's not your fault."
  • if you TXT "SONICV12" to 411247 (411-AIR also 411-24/7, get it?) you can get special offers from SONIC.  these tend to come out a couple of times per month and may well be aimed at some test market (perhaps vegas only?).  i've brought these TXTs to CA SONICs before -and while they've always been honored- the employees there (including the managers), have been puzzled by them.  past offers have included half-price drinks on new year's eve, 11c ice cream cones on new year's day, 99c mozzarella stix and 99c croisSONICs.
  • SONIC's overhead radio system is called "SONIC FM."  you can call in and request music to 1-866-SONIC-FM (1-866-766-4236).  i think they play off the digital collection they have, and it is somewhat limited -- BUT they'll always play a request if you find something they have and your request is played across all SONICs.  i'm not sure you can request 24 hours a day, but you can always try.  not many people call in, so you shouldn't have to wait more than about three or four songs before they play your request.  thrilling, i know.  sharpies will call a request to SONIC FM before they order.
  • happy hour at most SONICs is from 2:00PM to 4:00PM (5:00PM in vegas).  drinks and slushes are half price, shakes are not.  if you order something slightly out of the ordinary, ocean water (sprite and blue coconut), for example, you may find that the half price discount isn't taken correctly.
  • you can always split a large drink.  when you place your order, ask for an extra cup ... you'll get one at no charge.
  • vegas has been running a "wacky pack wednesday" promotion for quite some time now.  from 5:00PM to 8:00PM on wednesdays, you can get a kids' wacky pack meal for $1.49: 
  1. chicken strips, or jr. burger, or grilled cheese, or corn dog [note: choosing chicken strips, or cheese on your burger, creates a small surcharge]
  2. =and= banana, or apple slices, or tater tots, or fries
  3. =and= 1% milk (black or white), or 100% apple juice, or 100% orange juice, or fruit punch, or soda
  4. =and= a toy
  • no age limit applies to ordering a wacky pack.
  • although a vanilla ice cream cone and a vanilla ice cream dish are supposed to have the same amount of ice cream (both $1), every SONIC employee i've ever talked to has said that the vanilla dish probably has more.
  • if you order a lemon-berry slush -especially a larger size- be sure to ask the order taker to make sure it's well-stirred.  a lemon-berry slush is nothing more that a lemon slush (lemon and slush mix), with strawberry ice cream topping added ... if it's not stirred (and they very often are not) you find your tongue wading through geologic drink sedimentation.
  • one of the few downsides of SONIC is that they use american cheese.  if you're like i am, and think american cheese tastes like car seat wrap, you should either ask for it to be held on any sandwich order OR ask to substitute "shredded cheddar."
  • at some SONICs, you have to ask for the bathroom key.
  • many SONICs in the deep south have indoor seating.
  • it's possible to order a peanut butter shake (or chocolate-peanut butter) at some SONICs, even if it's not on the menu.  if you're interested in one, ask.  if they don't have it, consider making that recommendation to the customer service number.
  • if you want a drink with extra lemon (or extra lime), and you want real fruit to do the job, say "extra lemon wedges" when you order.  if you don't, it's likely you'll be given flavored syrup instead.  you might see a slight up-charge if you do this.
  • all menu items are available all day.
  • it's possible to order a lime-berry slush, even though it's not on the menu.  to be clear with the order taker, make sure you say "'lime-berry' not 'lemon-berry,' please."
  • some SONICs have carhop crossings across the drive-thru (you'll know if there are order stalls to your right).  be careful as you pull forward after getting your food!  it's easy to have your attention diverted to arranging things on a car seat.
  • the largest food service size at SONIC is referred to as "route 44."
  • when you pull into a stall, the food menu and speaker button will be on the driver's side.  the passenger's side will show a full dessert menu (on the back of the next stall's food menu).
  • at most SONICs, you can park in the lot and eat at tables on the landing.  you're not cramped in your car, it's easier to arrange your trash, and SONIC FM is more audible there.
  • SONIC cruisers club can get you extra promotions and a birthday freebie.

{see any crazy terminology on this page that you don't know?  you can probably find it in my SONIC glossary.}

4 comments:

  1. I bet I *could* get a chocolate peanut-butter shake here up in Kansas. Never thought to ask for them. But a few years ago I kept asking for coffee with ice cream in it, and the one manager here said basically I could order any combination of food. If it was in the menu as part of one food, I could combine it elsewhere (hey, grilled onion shakes, anyone? Japan makes a lovely green tea ice cream, why not!!). So I've taken them at their word, although admittedly not as strange as the grilled onions (although many times I do ask for grilled onions on my #1 or #2 SonicBurger). Anyway before I forget what I started off talking about and digress too far, after ordering the coffee and ice cream combinations a few dozen times, surprise, surprise, a few summers later, they came out with the various iced coffee drinks and chillers. I didn't get any financial compensation for my excellent ideas, of course, but hey, like you said, Sonic WAS LISTENING to what customers ordered.

    Now, if they'd just knock it off with the high fructose corn syrup...

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  2. yeah, this HFCS business is going to be the major food battle of the next 10 years.

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  3. I've had trouble getting a clear response on the HFCS. So is that their go to sweetener? (Other than the coke/drP products)

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  4. THAT, I don't know... I'd guess yes (because it's easy and cheap), if you find out definitively, please comment back. Thanks.

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PLEASE don't drink your slush as you type.