Burger King is going to let its customers "have it their way" on the beverages front, by installing Coca-Cola's Freestyle machine -- which dispenses more than 100 drink flavors -- in all of the QSR's company-owned stores by next April, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The company-owned BKs alone would boost the number of Freestyle locations, currently at 1,772, by 50%. And BK is also recommending that its franchisees install the machines, on a voluntary basis. Company- and francise-owned U.S. BKs total 7,250.
Chains including Firehouse Subs and Five Guys Burgers & Fries are installing Freestyles in all their locations, but BK would be the largest chain to do so thus far. McDonald's and Wendy's have been testing the machines in some locations.
Coca-Cola is pushing chains to adopt the machines as a means of increasing beverage sales in the foodservice sector, which have been declining as a whole in the past five years -- and grabbing market share away from PepsiCo in the bargain. Coca-Cola's goal, per Credit Suisse, is to get the machines into 70% of U.S. foodservice locations over the next five years.
Chains that have tested or rolled out the machines (such as Firehouse, which partnered with Coca-Cola to test the machines starting several years ago) have reported substantial increases in beverage sales.
In addition to letting customers create customized flavors, the machine is appealing because of its high-tech design and touchscreen menu. -- Karlene Lukovitz