Participating Sonic restaurants in the Phoenix market and OLO Online Ordering have launched a new offer through coupon site Groupon.

The drive-in burger chain will leverage Groupon to offer customers a deep discount on all orders made through Sonic's mobile and online ordering site – the first ever restaurant Groupon exclusively for online orders, according to a press release.

Mason-Harrison-Ratlif, a Sonic franchisee, is behind the launch, which allows users to purchase their Groupon, find a nearby drive-in location, place their order and choose a desired pick-up time, all through Sonic's mobile and online ordering platform, SonicOnTheGo.com.

The transaction takes place exclusively through mobile phone or online except for order pick-up.

Noah Glass, founder of OLO, said there was an opportunity for this platform in the quick-service segment, which has been slower to adopt Groupon as a marketing strategy.

"By taking the transaction online, restaurants can simplify deal redemption and gain valuable customer details so the brand can track customer retention," he said.

Mobile ordering also manages customer flow more effectively, which can mean the success or failure of a Groupon. In a recent report by Cornell's Center for Hospitality Research, displacement of regular customers was reported as one of the top perceived disadvantages of daily deals. Restaurateurs believed that the steep discounts usually included in daily deals would cause deal seekers to flood the restaurant, meaning full-paying regulars may have to wait during busy periods.

Through mobile and online ordering platforms such as OLO, iPhones, Androids, BlackBerries and laptops act as cashiers – without labor costs – sending orders efficiently to the back of the house.

"Our customers have embraced online ordering," said Jim Prentice, director of Operations for Mason-Harrison-Ratlif. "We're pleased to combine forces with OLO and Groupon to offer extra value and additional convenience to the Sonic experience."

This is the first Groupon offered by the restaurant chain, and will be exclusive to its 30 Phoenix locations.

The SonicOnTheGo.com website was also developed by OLO Online Ordering.

Read more about mobile and online initiatives

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