Not since the days of the friendly neighborhood soda jerk have so many people fallen in love with a beverage dispenser. But that’s been the standard reaction to Coca-Cola’s revolutionary Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, which has quickly become a star attraction at thousands of restaurants across the United States and in some international markets.
Offering a Countless Array of Beverages
There is nothing like Coca-Cola Freestyle in the world of self-serve drink machines. While other beverage dispensers offer between six and eight drink choices, Coca-Cola Freestyle is equipped with an easy-to-use touchscreen that allows users to dispense more than 100 individual brands, including some, like Diet Raspberry Coke, that aren't available anywhere else. That’s more drink choices than one can get at some retail outlets.
So how does Coke fit all those beverages into one machine? Instead of using the large boxes of syrup found in conventional machines, Coca-Cola Freestyle dispenses different drinks by leveraging small cartridges of micro-dosed ingredients to create a multitude of choices. The cartridges fit snugly inside the machine, and technology within the machine identifies when each brand is low and needs to be replaced.
Sleek, Easy-to-Use and Fun
The innovative Coca-Cola Freestyle is wrapped in a sleek inviting design, which was developed by Coca-Cola’s Industrial Design Team in concert with outside partners, including the Italian firm Pininfarina Extra, which also does design work for iconic carmaker Ferrari.
The result: Consumers are revved up over Coca-Cola Freestyle’s ease of use, engaging digital display and the enormous selection of beverage brands. And the fact that it’s just plain fun makes it even more appealing.
Coca-Cola Freestyle isn’t only a blast, it’s good for business too. The ultimate drink experience has boosted sales and increased guest traffic for the restaurants that boast the machines.
“We’ve proven prelaunch and in-market that when a restaurant has Coca-Cola Freestyle, their traffic, incidence and beverage servings grow anywhere from single to double digits,” says Jennifer Mann, VP and general manager, Coca-Cola Freestyle. “We also know that when a restaurant has Coca-Cola Freestyle, the perceptions of the restaurant brand improves.”
Mike Walsh, who owns seven Moe’s Southwest Grill restaurants in New York, has Coca-Cola Freestyle machines in his two newest locations. “Our customers love it,” Walsh says. “When we opened our two new stores everybody was mesmerized by it. It’s definitely a good business driver.”
The Moe’s franchisee is now busy converting his other five stores into Coca-Cola Freestyle locations.
After testing Coca-Cola Freestyle in some of its stores in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, the Moe’s chain saw comparable sales jump by 9 percent. The company now requires all new franchises to have Coca-Cola Freestyle inside.
Coca-Cola Freestyle is already found in more than 1,500 U.S Burger King restaurants, with plans to have 2,000 by the end of the year, representing about 30 percent of its system. Burger King also introduced Coca-Cola Freestyle in 16 of its restaurants in London as part of a limited-scale trial just before the Olympics this summer.
“Their guests love the new brand varieties, many of which they cannot buy at the store, like Coke Zero with Orange or Fanta Zero Peach,” says Jim Andrist, vice president of North America sales for Coca-Cola’s Burger King Account Team. “Guests also love the fresh taste, the intense aromas of the flavored beverages, and the perfect carbonation of each drink. Those things, along with the fun touchscreen interface are the magic of Coca-Cola freestyle.”
Andrist says Burger King restaurants have seen a positive impact on their business from Coca-Cola Freestyle. Restaurants that offer the technology are reporting increases in guest counts, drink incidence and profits.
While many people have been discovering Coca-Cola Freestyle on their own — or through word of mouth from their friends — Coca-Cola has been rolling out new Coca-Cola Freestyle machines along with its Fountain of You marketing campaign that focuses on integrating people directly with the Coca-Cola Freestyle experience to communicate how consumers describe the experience of having the choice and freedom to choose the beverage that’s right for them. The Fountain of You campaign is running in four test markets in the U.S.: Chicago, Orlando, Atlanta and Houston.
Within these test markets, consumers have the chance to check out the Coca-Cola Freestyle sampling truck at various theme parks, festivals and sports events. The truck allows people to try the 100-plus drink choices and get cozy with the Coca-Cola Freestyle brand.
Keeping Coca-Cola Freestyle Fans in the Loop
How many machines do you know that tweet? Coca-Cola Freestyle does. Followers of @ccfreestyle can stay up-to-date on new Coca-Cola Freestyle locations and learn where they can find the Coca-Cola Freestyle sampling truck.
Besides being synced with Twitter, the Coca-Cola Freestyle website is integrated with Facebook and includes a digital postcard feature so visitors can share their favorite brands with friends and followers. Fans simply enter their zip code to see a map displaying the nearest Coca-Cola Freestyle machines. And with the free app available for Android and iPhone, it's easy to locate the nearest Coca-Cola Freestyle machine and play an interactive memory game featuring the machine’s myriad brands.
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