Fact Check

Sonic Drive-In Red Tray Keychain Promotion

Sonic Drive-In promotions involving red tray keychains have been widely shared nationwide despite being local offers only.

Published May 24, 2016

Sonic Drive-In outlets are selling a $2 red tray keychain entitling the bearer to steep discounts on Route 44 beverages.
What's True

A handful of Sonic Drive-In locations have offered promotions that allows customers to purchase a red tray keychain for $2 and receive 99-cent Route 44 beverages.

What's False

These promotions were offered only at a few local Sonic outlets, and customers who purchased the red trays at participating locations couldn't use them elsewhere.

On 19 May 2016 a Facebook user published a photograph and status update reporting that outlets of the Sonic Drive-In fast food chain were selling red tray keychains for $2 that entitled bearers to 99¢ Route 44 beverages for life:

sonic red tray origin

As is often the case with such high-value discount offers, the photograph rapidly spread outside the user's area and soon flooded Facebook nationally — with some viewers expressing skepticism about the information:


Posters to Sonic's Facebook wall regularly asked whether the claim promotion was real and why they had been unable to obtain the red tray keychain at their local Sonic outlets. Sonic corporate didn't respond to those questions, but an individual Sonic franchise operator replied to a customer's query to say:

sonic red tray keychain

According to that Sonic operator, the promotion was offered only by a small group of Sonic franchises in Texas. A manager at one of those "red tray" locations told us that the red tray keychains were only available at Texas Sonic locations in Tyler and Longview.

Similarly, 2017 saw the red tray promotion pop up at scattered Sonic Drive-In locations such as Princeton, West Virginia:

The Sonic promotion rumor and social media interest in it has spread confusion similar to that prompted by Wendy's Frosty key chains promotion, which costs $1 and enables purchasers to obtain one free Junior Frosty per Wendy's visit (but are good only for one year from date of purchase).

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.

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