Coca-Cola Freestyle goes contactless with smartphone technology

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Coca-cola coronavirus

As consumer behavior continues to shift as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, The Coca-Cola Company is rolling out a touchless fountain experience.

The Coca-Cola Freestyle platform – dispensers for self-serve or crew-serve – can now be used with a smartphone for contactless pouring. Consumers can choose and pour drinks from their phones, without having to download an app or create an account. Holding a camera up to the display auto-scans a QR code, which immediately connects to the cloud and brings the Coca-Cola Freestyle user interface to the phone, with a full range of brands and flavors.

'When you have a tray in one hand, you don't want to deal with downloading an app' 

“The idea is to be safe, seamless and fun,”​ said Michael Connor, Chief Architect, Coca-Cola Freestyle.

“The team knew from the start that the experience needed to be as easy as possible. We intentionally designed this so anyone with a smart device could pour a drink.

Coca-cola freestyle contactless inset

"When you have a tray or a sandwich in one hand, you don’t want to deal with downloading an app. We took steps to make the solution super-easy, super-fast and super-reliable.”

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

Coca-Cola says its team developed the touch-free offering in a matter of weeks, building from the Coca-Cola Freestyle Operating System (FOS) introduced in 2019. 

The new technology, which has been tested at Firehouse Subs, Five Guys and Wendy’s locations in Atlanta, is now starting to roll out to Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensers across the US. 

The software will be extended to more than 10,000 Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensers by the end of the summer, and all Freestyle dispensers across the US, Europe and Canada will be contactless-compatible before the end of year. All other international Freestyle markets will follow next year.

The Coca-Cola Freestyle portfolio offers more than 200 brands, including lemonades, teas, sports drinks, waters, juices and sparkling beverages.

According to research, 60% of restaurant guests prefer to pour their own fountain drink versus having a crew member do so, according to a May 2020 quantitative study from Civic Science. Customization is the primary driver for self -serve fountain fans, but more than 40% of respondents said they strongly agree they feel safer when in control of their drinks.

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