- By the end of 2020, all Coca-Cola Freestyle machines will be contactless, thanks to a tie-up between the drinks giant and Amazon.
- Coca-Cola has partnered with Amazon Web Services to roll out tech that lets you pour drinks by tapping your phone.
- Diners simply scan a QR code, and all the Freestyle soda fountain’s usual functions appear on their phone screen.
- Coca-Cola has already rolled out pilots of the tech to Wendy’s, Firehouse Subs, and Five Guys – now, it’s going nationwide.
Coca-Cola has partnered with Amazon’s cloud computing arm Amazon Web Services (AWS) to let thirsty diners pour drinks at Coca-Cola touch-screen soda fountains using their phones.
Diners simply scan a QR code on the Freestyle machines, of which there are 52,000 in the US, and the buttons usually displayed on the machine appear on their phone screen instead, making the process fully contactless.
The plan was first unveiled for a trial in July, before Coca-Cola partnered with Amazon â€” now, the drinks giant says the tech will come to all Freestyle machines this year.
The company developed the machines with AWS in collaboration with restaurants. The software only shows which beverages the machine has in stock, and pouring starts and stops by holding down a button. This has to happen in near-real time to avoid overflows and spills.
The Freestyle machines, first introduced in 2009, are soda fountains that allow diners to combine various drinks from Coca-Cola’s portfolio.
Usually this is done via touchscreen â€” but during the pandemic, Coca-Cola wanted a contact-free option.
While the traditional machines are safe to use during the pandemic if sites follow the recommended cleaning rules, Coca-Cola said it wanted to “get ahead of shifting consumer needs.”
Coca-Cola rolled out pilots of the tech to Wendy’s, Firehouse Subs, and Five Guys six weeks after the company’s initial brainstorm.
The company has since expanded the “pour by phone” option to more than 30,000 machines across restaurants and entertainment venues. By the end of 2020, all Coca-Cola Freestyle machines in the US will be touchless.
Coca-Cola will then roll out the tech globally.
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