Fast-food marketers are serving up a wider selection of beverages than ever before in a burst of competition designed to satisfy consumers' insatiable desire for variety. Traditionally, such outlets
offer only a handful of the same fountain drinks. But that's changing rapidly as McDonald's, for one, began testing coolers full of Coke products like Vault, Full Throttle, and Powerade in Texas.
"Consumers are becoming more and more discerning about not only what they want to drink, but how they want it," said Pepsi rep Nicole Bradley. Subway added Coke coolers at 95 percent of its U.S. units
late last year. Wendy's introduced Dasani bottled water in April. And Dunkin' Donuts offers bottled PepsiCo products. Dave Zambory, beverage director at Subway, said that because 60 percent of its
business is takeout, "the issue of portability came to light time and time again. Offering the right brands in the right packages made all the sense in the world." Coca-Cola, meanwhile, has been
working with the Culinary Institute of America to create new drink recipes for casual dining restaurants using its fountain drinks. "Coca-Cola Specialty Beverage" recipes include the Coca-Cola Hot
Tamale (Coke, fresh lime, black pepper, Worcestershire and hot sauces) and other unusual variations on old favorites. "People not only want meals they wouldn't create at home, they want different
drinks. They want to be spoiled," said Therese Gearhart, vice president-marketing at Coke's food service division.
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