Coke’s Freestyle Offers Unparalleled Opportunities; Vending Operators Need To Speak Up

One of the biggest disadvantages the vending industry has always faced is its small size in relation to other foodservice segments. The big consumer product manufacturers focus their attention on larger markets before considering vending.This lack of clout has become especially important today, due to fast technological developments we are seeing.I refer specifically to the Coca Cola Freestyle machine, a multi selection fountain dispenser that offers consumers unparalleled benefits. Users have access to over 100 soft drinks in one machine and can mix and match beverages to make custom beverages. The machine's touchscreen allows a customer to purchase a drink that is half Caffeine-Free Diet Coke with Lime and half Minute Maid Light Raspberry.The Freestyle continues to make big inroads at foodservice, and to date, there is no word on plans to bring it to vending, which offers more points of distribution than any place else.Readers may recall the company displayed the Freestyle at this years NAMA Expo, and it was the hit of the show. Even with all the other video touchscreens on display.The sooner a Freestyle vending application becomes available, the faster our industry can take advantage of its unique benefits .Vending operators need to let their Coke reps know they want the Freestyle.Meanwhile, the company is hard at work trying to ready the Freestyle for the restaurant sector.Hopefully, competition from Pepsi might move things along. Pepsi, has been hard at work on a similar machine, as recently reported.Even without the benefit of advertising the Freestyle, it hasn't been unusual for restaurants to see sales rise 20 percent to 30 percent when they add the machine.Coke has introduced an Android and Apple application for a memory game that involves matching up buttons from the Freestyle machines, as reported in todays VendingMarketWatch.The company is also working with the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather to create a campaign that will allow users to make custom drink combinations on their phones, resulting in a unique QR code that can be scanned at any of the Freestyle machines, eliminating the hassle of programming the machine to serve drinks.Vending operators need to speak up to make this outstanding opportunity a reality for them.

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