Coca-Cola Eats

Coca‑Cola Highlights Foodservice-Focused Beverage, Equipment, Digital and Sustainability Innovations at 2023 Restaurant Show


Coca‑Cola North America’s robust presence at the National Restaurant Association Show 2023 spotlighted how its portfolio of products, services and partnerships can help foodservice operators delight guests and drive profits in an environment challenged by inflation, labor shortages and supply chain constraints. 

The restaurant-themed Coca‑Cola Eats booth delivered an immersive experience centered on the theme of “Loved Brands. Done Sustainably. Delivered Digitally.”

“From Coca‑Cola Flex powered by Freestyle, to sustainable packaging innovations and custom digital offerings, we demonstrated our commitment to respond to evolving consumer preferences and optimize operations for our customers,” said Paula Weeks, Director, Industry Leadership, Coca‑Cola North America. “We actively engaged customers and partners beyond our booth with educational sessions, a hotel takeover highlighting our RTD tea and coffee portfolio, and a happy hour curated by Simply Mixology.”

The new Coca‑Cola Flex powered by Freestyle, a beverage dispenser that offers an enhanced guest experience while reducing operational complexity, made its high-profile debut at the 45,000-attendee show in Chicago. The easy-to-install, low-maintenance dispenser delivers more than 40 beverage choices across six categories in the same footprint as a standard six-valve fountain dispenser, with a sleek design, 15-inch HD touchscreen display, improved user interface and proprietary PurePour™ technology to dispense fresh, high-quality beverages to guests.

Coca‑Cola conducted two rounds of consumer testing and worked with customers and bottling partners to optimize features and benefits for the foodservice channel. Crew benefits include easier access to inventory alerts, quicker diagnostics, improved ergonomics and easy-to-change, eco-friendly SmartPAK cartridges.

“Beverages are accelerating in importance as a trip driver within the foodservice channel, and consumers are increasingly searching for more variety, especially Gen Z,” said Megan Tallman, Group Director, Coca‑Cola Freestyle and Foodservice Innovation. “By offering more beverage variety, Coca‑Cola Flex enables operators to capture previously untapped revenue from 30% of consumers who would add a beverage to their order if their desired category were available.”

Another recent equipment innovation – the Costa Coffee Schaerer Coffee Soul S10 – is a propriety coffee dispenser tailored for restaurants with a graphical user interface that allows staff to prepare common orders in seconds. Other features include patented Best Foam technology, and under-the-counter flavor point syrup station, hot and cold brewing capability, and twin milk storage containers for contamination-free dispensing.

On the new beverage front, the company showcased its more than 800 drinks and 55 brands in 10 categories, including the 2023 FABI Award-winning Simply Mixology line of refreshing, fruit-forward juice beverages crafted to be enjoyed with or without alcohol; Costa Flat White Ready-to-Drink, which features a coffee-forward flavor profile in signature blend, mocha and caramel; and Coca‑Cola Move, the latest Coca‑Cola Creations drop that brings to life the transformational power of music in partnership with Grammy-award-winning artist Rosalía.

Sustainability – especially sustainable packaging – was a hot topic at the 2023 Restaurant Show. Coca‑Cola highlighted how priorities like reusable cups, the expanded distribution of 100% recycled PET (rPET) bottles and a partnership with Circular Solutions Advisors to conduct “Recycling Value Assessments” with customers are helping to drive a closed-loop plastics economy.

Finally, the Coca‑Cola booth demonstrated how the company is partnering with customers to adopt digital tools that boost front-of-house and back-of-house productivity and engage guests before they even walk through the door. With off-premise sales up significantly since the peak of COVID-19 as consumers increasingly value convenience, digital ordering is expected to continue to grow and reshape the industry. Coca‑Cola has accelerated efforts to help customers optimize their digital menus and drive successful loyalty programs through proprietary research and strategic partnerships with Doordash, UberEats, PopMenu and other leaders.

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