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The Waxahachie Sonic Drive-In Restaurant located at I-35E and Farm-to-Market 66 has earned its way to the final stages of a national contest.

“There are currently 3,000 stores all over our country participating this year,” general manager Kristi Taylor shared with the Sun. “We are currently in the top 50 stores.”

This is the furthest one of her teams has ever advanced, with this location one of only seven stores from the North Texas area to even make the top 500 in the nation.

Held each year, the Dr Pepper Sonic Games revolve around crew members testing on the basic knowledge of how Sonic works, the importance of customer service and how to solve problems. The Waxahachie store’s ranking in the top 50 stores places it in the top 2% of all Sonics nationwide.

Dr Pepper has been sponsoring Sonic’s premier training program for 25 years, with the game’s webpage noting that the contest “reinforces Sonic’s commitment to training, while also creating passionate brand ambassadors who deliver extraordinary guest experiences.”

Taylor, who has worked for Sonic since she was 16 years old, has served as a manager in stores around the North Texas area. This is her second stint at the I-35E/FM 66 location.

“I consider myself a people person and I can get along with anyone,” she said, noting that she wants all of her crew members to be successful. “Training is of utmost importance. If one of my employees is struggling, I will work with them and coach them.”

For reaching the top 50 level, all of the store’s crew members were rewarded with a T-shirt signifying the accomplishment, a bluetooth radio, a six-pack Dr Pepper cooler and a phone charger.

She and her crew are now awaiting results of their last online testing, which they’re hoping propels them into the competition’s final 12.

“If we advance to the top 12, the manager and six other crew members will get an all-expenses paid trip to San Diego, California (for the National Sonic Convention in September). We will know on Aug. 12 if we advance to the next level,” said Taylor, who acknowledges it will be difficult to select which six crew members out of her 20 staff members would go with her if they make this last cut.

At the convention, the final 12 teams will compete for gold, silver and bronze medals, which will be presented in front of Sonic executives and franchisees. During the convention, the participants also will have opportunities to win prizes such as televisions, gift cards, tablets and other electronic devices.  

Taylor said she’s “very proud” of her crew and the store, where the emphasis is on customer service as No. 1.

“I’m older than the crew members and they are like my kids,” she said. “We try to make work fun and I join them in taking care of our customers when it is busy. We work as a team. Actually, we are like a close-knit family. We all think ahead and we all know how our teammates work.”

Customer Karen Byrd shared high praise for the Sonic with the Sun, saying, “Kristi radiates customer service. She has an excellent attitude and is very gracious.

“They take very good care of me and my daughter at 6 a.m. every day,” Byrd said, noting their orders are always right and completed with fast and courteous service.

“It is a nice way to start my day,” she said.

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