Coca-Cola Freestyle machines adapting during COVID-19 pandemic

Credit Coca-Cola as their popular Freestyle drink machines will not be one of the casualities during the ongoing pandemic.

A new contact-less Coca-Cola Freestyle solution allows consumers to choose and pour a drink from their phone in just a few seconds, without having to sign up for a membership or download an app. The mobile Web experience, which was piloted earlier this summer at select Wendy’s, Five Guys and Firehouse Subs restaurants in Atlanta, works on any smart device.

Coca-Cola Freestyle app users can, however, opt to scan the QR code in the app for a similar experience, with the ability to pour pre-saved mixes.

The team developed the touch-free offering in just over a week as coronavirus lockdowns took effect, building off the Coca-Cola Freestyle Operating System (FOS) introduced in 2019.

The software will be pushed to more than 10,000 Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensers this summer. All Freestyle dispensers will be contactless-compatible by the end of the year.

Research shows that 60% of restaurant guests prefer to pour their own fountain drink versus having a crew member do so, according to a quantitative study from Civic Science. Customization is the primary driver for self-serve fountain fans, but more than 40% strongly agree that they feel safer when in control of their drinks.

Additionally, the Coca-Cola Freestyle team is patenting a touch-free, optical dispensing solution for legacy fountain dispensers. Sensor-enabled levers will detect the presence of a cup under the nozzle and pour the drink.

It's so high tech, when the cup is removed, pouring will automatically stop.