Coke Solutions

Pouring Refreshment Can Be Profitable

Tips to establish a robust beverage program at a convenience store

Since the first drop of Coca-Cola® was poured at Jacobs’ Pharmacy in Atlanta in 1886, people have enjoyed refreshment over ice in a cup or glass. In convenience stores, cold dispensed beverages are a major traffic driver and can produce outstanding margins1. Establishing a robust, quality program could help increase profits and attract new patrons, plus build loyalty and repeat business.

“During recent years, we’ve seen solid growth in our cold dispensed business in convenience outlets1,” says Brian Nixon, director, Retail Foodservice Strategy and Planning, Coca-Cola Refreshments. “A prime contributor to this success is retailers’ increased investment in their foodservice programs, which cold dispensed beverages naturally enhance. It also provides an opportunity to create value bundles with meals or snacks and beverages.”

Offering Options
Convenience retailers are known for product variety, featuring a wide range of cold dispensed beverages that can satisfy multiple tastes. While sparkling drinks remain a favorite choice, consumers also reach for tea, isotonics and lemonade.

“Our core brand, Coca-Cola, continues to perform well in C-stores1,” relays Nixon. “In addition, POWERADE® is experiencing growth in response to today’s active lifestyles1, and the popularity of tea has ignited Gold Peak® sales1. Another cold dispensed favorite is Fanta®, which attracts multicultural shoppers.”

For consumers seeking something different, The Coca-Cola Company introduces new flavors. FUZE® has sweet, unsweetened, lemon, peach and raspberry; Gold Peak includes peach and raspberry.

“We’ve expanded our tea selection because it’s an ideal pairing for foodservice options and delivers a nice profit margin for retailers,” Nixon points out.

Equipped for Success
At consumers’ fingertips is a fun and interactive way to choose their desired drink. Coca-Cola Freestyle®  dispenses more than 100 sparking and still brands from a single unit. The technological marvel provides enormous beverage selection with minimal inventory.

Plus, its proprietary PurePourTM technology dispenses a quality beverage with every pour and reduces valve maintenance.

“We’re ramping up our social/mobile/digital platforms — including the Coca-Cola Freestyle App — to further engage fans and drive consumers to our customers’ stores,” he adds.

Another innovation is the Gold Peak Variety Tea Tower® that pours four varieties of dispensed tea from one unit.

“Retailers like its operational ease because they aren’t required to brew fresh tea every day,” Nixon explains. “Plus, it offers multiple, great-tasting choices from a small footprint.”

Also part of an effective cold dispensed beverage program is the simple, but effective, cup.

“More C-stores see the benefits of tapping cups as a powerful marketing vehicle,” says Nixon. “Shoppers who walk out the door carrying containers displaying the store’s brand and our campaigns or sweepstakes programs help promote the outlet and drive repeat traffic.”

Boosting Beverage Buys
While offering cold dispensed beverages may seem like a no-brainer, there are essential steps retailers should consider to drive optimum sales. The “NACS/CCRRC (Coca-Cola Retailing Research Councis) Playbook for Success” outlines such fundamentals:

  1. Take care of core needs. Consumers expect quality beverages when they visit your store, whether from the cold vault or the dispensed area. Featuring recognizable brands and ensuring product is within the recommended purchase date leads to satisfied shoppers. It’s also critical that your dispensed area of business is clean, well maintained and fully stocked.

  2. Defend your turf. To effectively fend off competition, you must offer the brands and categories your customers desire. C-stores are known for providing variety, so make sure you have a proper mix of dispensed sparkling and still beverages, including teas and isotonics.

  3. Attract new business. Foodservice offers a powerful strategy to garner more shoppers by creating bundling opportunities with snacks/meals and beverages. Bundles increase the average ticket, are highly profitable and foster loyal consumers. So, maximize eating occasions with a cold dispensed beverage.

“We’re an on-the-go society with no sign of slowing, and shoppers will repeatedly reach for hydration — which is why cold dispensed beverages continue to thrive,” states Nixon.

To explore ways to grow your cold dispensed beverage business, contact your local Coca-Cola representative. More information about NACS/CCRRC studies can be found at

1 The Coca-Cola Company volume reporting (May 2013)

Published: July 05, 2013