Meeting operational needs can be challenging for restaurants with limited space who know they must offer lots of beverage choices. Enter the Coca-Cola Freestyle® dispenser, a sleek and versatile machine that engages consumers in a unique way that helps drive traffic and sales. The company introduced the machine in 2009 to help foodservice establishments offer patrons more beverage options.
"Consumers want quality, great taste and brands they can trust," says Joel Bishop, general manager for Coca-Cola North America. "With the Coca-Cola Freestyle dispenser, operators can offer over 100 fantastic beverage brands in a small amount of real estate, many of which are low/no calorie or caffeine free."
The Coca-Cola Freestyle dispenser is attractive. With a sleek, contoured exterior in iconic red, silver or black, consumers are drawn to the machine at first glance.
"The Coca-Cola Freestyle machine takes the beverage experience to a more personal level," Bishop says. "The interactive touch screen makes the process fun, and consumers are delighted at having so many satisfying choices."
This year the company added features to enhance consumer engagement: The touch-screen layout now shows categories of beverages to make it easier to peruse the many choices; the screen can be customized by operators to highlight limited-time or store-specific promotions; and consumers can now create their own beverage "mix" via a mobile app to encourage personalization (such as 25% Minute Maid Raspberry, 25% Vanilla Sprite and 50% Fanta Orange).
More than one million people have downloaded the app, which allows them to create their own mix and save it prior to arriving at a location with a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine. Customers then hold their smartphone up to a QR code on the touchscreen of the machine, and the machine automatically displays their customized mix and creates their beverage.
"Operators like the app because it is generating traffic and driving consumers to their front door," says Mike Becker, manager of strategy and development for Coca-Cola Freestyle. "Restaurants with a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine have an advantage over other locations that do not. We offer a plethora of templated POS materials to help operators promote this to consumers, and it definitely pays dividends in terms of driving sales."
Sized To Fit Any Outlet
Coca-Cola also has introduced a smaller, counter-top version of the dispenser called the Coca-Cola Freestyle 7000 series, so operators with smaller volume sales can participate in the program as well. Featuring 60+ beverage options, the choices dwarf that of a typical post-mix fountain machine. The Coca-Cola Freestyle 7000 also uses the same style of lightweight, easy-to-store cartridges as other Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensers.
"The more variety and choice you can offer in your line-up, the more you sell," says Becker. "We found that some consumers even will choose a store based on whether they have a Coca-Cola Freestyle dispenser at that location."
No matter what version of the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine a restaurant has, they can access sales reporting for insights based on data sent via modem to Coca-Cola headquarters each night.
"The data provides a wealth of information," Becker says. "Operators can see the highest to lowest sellers, and make decisions about designing promotions specific to what their customers like. That's a powerful example of how to build your business."