Remember BreakMate™? Coke Freestyle™ Revives Hopes For A Better Future

One of the most exciting announcements in the foodservice industry last year was the introduction of the Coca Cola Freestyle machine, which can dispense more than 100 different Coke brands. The unit blends concentrate with water and sweetener, producing a factory-fresh product, far superior in quality to postmix beverages. The Freestyles touchscreen control panel allows for blending of different concentrates by the consumer.Early reports referring to the Freestyle as a vending machine got some in the refreshment services industry excited, but these reports proved false. The product is designed for foodservice and Coke is controlling the rollout very carefully.But that hasnt quelled the excitement among far-sighted refreshment service operators.Some operators are hoping that the Freestyles advanced dosing technology can be adapted to a self-contained unit. Such a machine would unleash tremendous opportunity for the refreshment services industry.Some who remember the Coke BreakMate machine view the Freestyle as reason to revive their hopes for a cold beverage dispenser that provides high quality product, reliably.The BreakMate, introduced in 1988, encountered mechanical issues. It can still be found in some locations.In the meantime, various attempts to develop a countertop beverage refreshment dispenser have come and gone.I remember one postmix machine at industry trade shows that dispensed both hot and cold drinks, both carbonated and non-carbonated, including alcoholic beverages. Drinks were mixed in the cup, not the dispenser, to ensure sanitation. Countertop cold beverage dispensers are available for work site locations, but the Freestyle machine promises unique quality control, ease of use, and product variety.Refreshment service operators who have contacted Coke about Freestyle have been told that a worksite model is not out of the question, but it is a few years away.In the meantime, we will be looking out for the first report of a unit with such capabilities in a worksite environment.To view a youtube video of the Freestyle, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZd-Rj-rdLE&feature=related

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