Coca-Cola Freestyle machines on the way out?

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Super S
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Coca-Cola Freestyle machines on the way out?

Post by Super S » June 12th, 2018, 3:21 pm

Today I stopped at a brand new Arby's in Napavine, WA for lunch, and noticed that the Coke products were in a traditional fountain machine instead of the Freestyle machine. The one thing worth noting is that the fountain dispenser has all of the flavor dispensers lit up with white LEDs, something I have not seen in my area, so it's safe to say this machine is new and not repurposed from another location. This made me wonder if the Freestyle machines are disappearing.

Worth noting is that the Arby's closest to me, in Longview, WA, had Pepsi until about two months ago, however, the Napavine Arby's is a new-build, so I doubt that this is a converted Pepsi machine.

I have never cared for the Freestyle machines for various reasons, mainly the fact the pop from them just tastes weird to me.

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Re: Coca-Cola Freestyle machines on the way out?

Post by babs » June 12th, 2018, 3:26 pm

I hate the Freestyle machines too. Nothing tastes right coming out of it because everything comes through the same tubes. So it's mixing the flavors of the last several people. Running some water through it before you choose your drink helps a little bit.

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Re: Coca-Cola Freestyle machines on the way out?

Post by jamcool » June 12th, 2018, 4:37 pm

The Freestyles seem to be popping up everywhere, at least out here. There may not be enough room for all of the syrup packs

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Re: Coca-Cola Freestyle machines on the way out?

Post by storewanderer » June 12th, 2018, 8:31 pm

I recently came across a compact Freestyle machine at a Terrible Herbst c-store. It sits atop the counter and probably takes up less space than the old fountain machine they had did. I have also seen these compact Freestyle dispensers at some Safeway locations.

Arby's may not be doing Freestyle due to the concerns addressed here.

Another thing I notice about these Freestyle machines, specifically ones I've noticed at McDonalds and Five Guys, is an odor seems to emit from them... and not a pleasant odor.

I sit in awe as more and more places install these machines... it will only push soda consumption down further.

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Re: Coca-Cola Freestyle machines on the way out?

Post by Alpha8472 » June 13th, 2018, 1:07 am

The Burger King and Jack In The Boxes near me have been adding these over the past few years. McDonald's uses traditional soda fountains near me in Northern California.

The concentrated flavor powder just can't seem to approximate real syrup. Most of the flavor shots are artificial sweeteners which give a bitter aftertaste. Also I notice a lot of stray spraying of the flavor sprays. It can really stain the cup or clothing.

The Freestyle machines cost more, and I suspect that Arby's allows individual restaurants to decide which type of soda machine to install.

I have noticed that the flavors taste different from chain to chain. Dave's Orange Cream soda from Wendy's tastes awful, but Jack In The Box has Barq's Creme soda with orange that tastes much better. The recipes must use different ingredients.

Round Table Pizza has Pepsi Spire machines that look like rip offs of Coke Freestyle machines and offer similar flavor combinations. They have fewer flavors and might use traditional syrup instead of artificial flavor powder.

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Re: Coca-Cola Freestyle machines on the way out?

Post by Brian Lutz » June 13th, 2018, 7:50 am

The Arby's near where I live recently switched from Pepsi products to Coke products, although from what I can see it looks like they are using the same fountain equipment (I know a lot of restaurants lease the fountains from the company, but I'm guessing they don't.) As for the Freestyle machines, I'd say I'm seeing more of them instead of less. A lot of older Wendy's locations have been adding them (which leads to a bit of awkwardness in placement as the locations generally had fountains behind the counter prior to this.)

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Re: Coca-Cola Freestyle machines on the way out?

Post by Super S » July 15th, 2018, 10:35 am

Alpha8472 wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 1:07 am
The Burger King and Jack In The Boxes near me have been adding these over the past few years. McDonald's uses traditional soda fountains near me in Northern California.

The concentrated flavor powder just can't seem to approximate real syrup. Most of the flavor shots are artificial sweeteners which give a bitter aftertaste. Also I notice a lot of stray spraying of the flavor sprays. It can really stain the cup or clothing.

The Freestyle machines cost more, and I suspect that Arby's allows individual restaurants to decide which type of soda machine to install.

I have noticed that the flavors taste different from chain to chain. Dave's Orange Cream soda from Wendy's tastes awful, but Jack In The Box has Barq's Creme soda with orange that tastes much better. The recipes must use different ingredients.

Round Table Pizza has Pepsi Spire machines that look like rip offs of Coke Freestyle machines and offer similar flavor combinations. They have fewer flavors and might use traditional syrup instead of artificial flavor powder.

I recently noticed a touchscreen Pepsi dispenser has been installed at one of the casinos not far from me. Curiously, right next to it was a traditional fountain dispenser. Both were in use, but people, including myself, were using the traditional one. At another drink station the old machines were the only ones present. Perhaps Pepsi isn't pushing these as hard.

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Re: Coca-Cola Freestyle machines on the way out?

Post by storewanderer » July 15th, 2018, 11:34 am

I've noticed last year the Freestyle machines added to two McDonalds one in Sparks, NV (Prater Way) and one in Truckee, CA. These two locations are run by the same franchisee. They also have a location in the RNO airport (same franchisee) with employee serve drinks/no refills and there is no Freestyle machine there.

Meanwhile in the past six months two Reno McDonalds have been remodeled (closed for months then reopened) which are run by a different franchisee and neither one of them have a Freestyle machine. Just the same old fountain machines as before.

I wonder if it is up to the franchisee whether or not to put these machines in, with some brands?

Other brands like Wendys (for remodels) and Jack in the Box seem to make it mandatory.

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Re: Coca-Cola Freestyle machines on the way out?

Post by Brian Lutz » July 18th, 2018, 10:52 am

As far as I can tell the Pepsi Spire machines are basically a different user interface and packaging on a standard dispenser with "flavor shot" add-ins. I'm guessing they use standard bag-in-box syrups.

More here: http://design.pepsico.com/spire.php?v=73#section1

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Re: Coca-Cola Freestyle machines on the way out?

Post by cjd » August 18th, 2018, 6:56 am

Burger KIng and one of the DQ stores here have them. I agree that everything seems to taste weird from them. Also not a fan of how the ice dispenser dumps too much ice. The drain area is always full of overflowed ice.

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