Purchase-based PepsiCo Inc. this week rolls out its Pepsi Touch Tower 1.0, a countertop fountain with the ability to mix and serve 100 different-flavored drinks. Coke already has a like machine.
Five restaurants in Denver are slated to test the Pepsi devices.
Pepsi reportedly garners 30 percent of the national soft drink fountain market; Coke, which counts McDonald’s among its contracts, garners 70 percent. Fountain drinks at variously scaled dining establishments, movie houses and other outlets add up to about 25 percent of overall sales volume, according to Bedford Hills-based Beverage Digest, which tracks the nonalcoholic beverage industry and which first reported the Touch Tower Denver test.
The sleek machines will offer flavor shots of lemon, cherry, strawberry and vanilla to eight different drinks. Strawberry Pepsi and cherry Mountain Dew are now the consumer’s for the asking.
Pepsi’s corporate fountain business includes ties with former subsidiaries Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC, which are now owned by Yum! Brands Inc. Yum! was spun from Pepsi in 1997 and made headlines in 2011 for buying the Little Sheep restaurant chain in China for $4.6 billion. It reportedly maintains a corporate lifeline with Pepsi and Pepsi products remain the drinks at the vast majority of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC establishments.
Coca-Cola in 2009 debuted its Freestyle soda machine, which also lets customers touch a screen to pick from a wide array of flavor combinations. Freestyle’s drink options number 125.
Pepsi offered no date for when a larger roll-out might occur; neither did it offer costs for the program or manufacturing details.
The PepsiCo Touch Tower is smaller than Coca-Cola’s Freestyle. According to Beverage Digest, PepsiCo has been testing the unit overseas since last year. The U.S. test will run in Denver is at five Garbanzo Mediterranean Grills.
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