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08/24/2023

Restaurant Tech Community Remembers SONIC’s John Robinson

John Robinson, director of retail technology at SONIC Drive-In, died August 15. He is remembered as a "passionate brand ambassador" and an "incredible contributor to the advancement of technology in the restaurant industry."
Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor, Restaurants
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The restaurant technology industry is mourning the death of John Robinson, director of retail technology at SONIC Drive-In, who died August 15 after a battle with cancer.  He was 49 years old.

Robinson was a long-time employee of SONIC.  His career began in 1988 as a carhop.

“John’s influence resonates far and wide throughout both the SONIC and Inspire Brands organizations. His journey with SONIC began in 1988 as a dedicated carhop, exemplifying an unwavering commitment to the SONIC brand. As his career progressed, he transitioned to a role within the corporate side of the brand in 2002. John devoted a tenure of 34+ years to our organization, leaving in his wake a legacy characterized by achievements and a genuine care for the well-being of our restaurant and support center teams and franchisees,” reads a statement from the company. 

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John Robinson Sonic
John Robinson, director of retail technology at SONIC Drive-In, is remembered as an "incredible contributor to the advancement of technology in the restaurant industry."

Passionate Brand Ambassador

Cacy Bedoka-Merrifield, now Principal Product Manager at Jack in the Box, worked with Robinson for seven years.

"John, or J-Rob as he was known to many around the halls of SONIC, never met a stranger, engaged with people with a sincerity that made each person feel special, and was the most passionate and organic brand ambassador of SONIC that I've ever had the pleasure of working with. It took no more than two or three conversations as co-workers before we considered each other friends. I know I am only one of many that have the same version of how they know and grew to love John. He will be missed by many," Bedoka-Merrifield said.

Robinson was active in the restaurant technology industry. He was a frequent contributor to Hospitality Technology, a speaker at MURTEC, an active member of Restaurant Technology Network (RTN), a regular attendee at MURTEC Executive Summit, to name a few. 

“John Robinson was an incredible contributor to the advancement of technology in the restaurant industry. He will be missed,” said Brian Klinger, Food & Beverage Technology at Comcast Business.

"John was an industry treasure,” adds RTN Co-Founder Angela Diffly.  “He was one of the inaugural judges for RTN's Start-Up Alley at MURTEC in 2020, and he had such a great time with the competition, taking time to really listen to each and every start-up pitch. But above all, he was a genuine, kind person. I know I speak for many when I say he will be greatly missed."

Robinson’s full obituary is here.