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This Popular Fast-Food Chain Is Letting You Tip for the First Time

The change makes digital orders more convenient.
FACT CHECKED BY Joseph Neese
sonic

Sonic Drive-In is rolling out a first-of-its-kind change to their mobile app, which will allow customers to tack on a tip to their credit or debit card payments, the company announced last week. The Inspire Brands–owned chain operates as a modern-day carhop service, and customers have been calling on the company to come up with a streamlined tipping system for their bellhops for years.

Sonic's bellhops perform duties similar to traditional table service, such as greeting and serving guests and clearing trays. While customers were always able to leave cash tips, the new feature will make tipping more convenient for those who place digital orders or generally find themselves without cash. The function is currently available at 1,000 of the chain's 3,500 locations, and it will be rolled out systemwide by the end of the year.

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Sonic's Chief Marketing Officer Lori Abou Habib says the addition is "going to be welcomed news for our carhops, but also to our guests who have been looking for that functionality." In fact, Sonic customers launched a Change.org petition four years ago requesting a way to tip bellhops at the drive-in when paying with a card. According to Abou Habib, this has been one of the top two customer service requests at Sonic for some time.

The fast-food chain has made major improvements to its restaurant layouts and digital technology over the past year. Sonic recently teamed up with Amazon to enable customers to access its app by speaking to Alexa, and it implemented a successful pilot program with the Google RCS Business Messaging Program, which resulted in five times as many app downloads. Sonic also modernized its logo, though the chain faced some backlash for stripping it of its retro-cool charm.

For more on the latest fast-food trends, check out 6 Most Anticipated Fast-Food Menu Items Launching This Year. And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get all of the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.

Mura Dominko
Mura Dominko is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!. Read more