Pepsi-Cola itself has been around for more than a century. Developed by a pharmacist in 1898, it’s undergone countless changes and seen just about everything change in the name of trend and innovation. Soda fountains have too, as they originated near the same time, and also spent the early days of inception stationed at pharmacies. In the most simple of terms, things have changed.
But that’s the beautiful thing. History can be improved upon. Integrity can be maintained. Brands can be better than ever, never wavering from the foundations on which they were built. What started as a social aspect of soda fountains in drug stores and apothecaries has morphed into the engaging, refreshing aspect soft drinks still offer people. Pepsi began in bottles so as not to compete directly with its competitor all those decades ago, and it seems the time to take that back is now.
What is Fountain Soda?
Fountain soda is typically made with higher-quality ingredients combined with carbonated water, which requires near-exact math to create the correct pour. Sure, you can say that soda fountains are really just mechanical machines that dispense carbonated water that's paired with flavored, sticky-sweet syrup. But how do you make that water bubble? And how do you determine the right ratio of bubbles to flavor
Carbonated water is regular water that’s supersaturated with carbon dioxide (C02) gas. It’s hard to believe, but it took centuries for scientists and inventors to master the chemistry and engineering behind the technology required to simply infuse air bubbles into ordinary, everyday water.
Inside the pressurized C02 chamber, carbonated water is flat as can be. It has absolutely no fizz. The bubble effect develops when the liquid is released from the chamber back into normal atmospheric pressure. Carbonated water contains 16,000 times more C02 than regular water; roughly five glasses of C02 for every glass of water poured.
Drinks Choice in Soda Fountain Machine is Important
Aside from soda, what's new on tap? Non-carbonated beverage growth in the categories of juices, teas, cold-brew coffee, sparkling or enhanced water continues to spike as well as any beverage that has "craft" properties to it, like reduced or real sugar content, natural ingredients, and unusual flavors.
While the shifting trend for consumers regarding food and beverage in the past few years has supported health as an initiative, the current landscape of the world is pushing that topic even further. An article from Dairy Reporter credited ingredients and solutions company ADM for identifying six emerging behavior changes that will power innovation and growth through the months ahead. The article said, “Consumers’ attitudes, priorities, and behaviors are shifting significantly,” said Ana Ferrell, VP of marketing at ADM. “This evolution is providing a unique opportunity for forward-looking food and beverage companies to bring a suite of trailblazing new products to market.”
Research shows 77% of consumers intend to make more attempts to stay healthy in the future. Food and beverage manufacturers who successfully balance consumer health concerns with affordability are most likely to win with consumers. ADM said the six behavioral shifts will create opportunities for food and beverage manufacturers to gain market share in an increasingly uncertain business environment. The shifts include:
- Increased focus on gut health and immune function
- Plant-based becomes mainstream
- New perspectives on weight management and metabolic health
- Finding balance: self-care, emotional wellbeing, and nutrition
- Personal nutrition
- Shifts in shopping value
A Couple of Unique Drink Options Can Help
If your restaurant is a soda haven, your customers who are loyal fountain soda consumers are content. But, have you considered your consumers who are looking for non-soda options? Fountain machines aren’t just for soda anymore. You can offer iced tea, energy drinks, and sparkling water through a fountain solution just as you can deliver soda. The evolution of the fountain beverage experience has been quite remarkable, and today’s restaurants and food establishments can meet the needs of every unique taste and preference.
Some ways you can enhance your fountain machine include:
- Non-carbonated options like Gatorade and G2, Lifewater, and juices.
- Sparkling water beverages—sparkling options continue to be the “new” still water!
- Tea – capitalize on the healthy “superfood” trend that so many people are fans of. Lipton Tea is a best seller.
Flavor Options: Offer a variety of soda syrups and flavors, including traditional options like cola and root beer as well as unique flavors like cucumber or lavender.
Mix-Ins: Provide mix-ins like fruit purees, herbs, and spices to allow customers to customize their drinks further.
Toppings: Offer toppings like whipped cream, sprinkles, and candy pieces to add a fun and personalized touch to the drinks.
Customer Satisfaction is not Limited to Soda Options
Set Your Servers Up for Success
Provide your servers with tips, tricks, and tools they need to be successful. There’s no limit to the number of things you can do, but we’ve listed a few good pieces below to get you started:
- Hold training sessions to get your staff acquainted with new menu options
- Consider strategic menu placements before customers are even seated
- Provide table toppers or server book inserts with full beverage options
- Teach servers about the optimal times to upsell unique beverage options (appetizer drinks, dessert drinks, etc.)
- Utilize the power of suggestion and recommendation
- Offer samples
The Satisfaction Can Be Beneficial for the Whole Restaurant
Customer satisfaction is a key element in the success of any restaurant. Satisfied customers are more likely to return, recommend the restaurant to others, and leave positive reviews online. This can lead to increased revenue, improved reputation, and a loyal customer base. There are several ways to measure customer satisfaction in restaurants, including surveys, online reviews, and feedback cards. It's important to regularly collect and analyze this data to identify areas for improvement and ensure that customers are consistently satisfied with their experience.
There are several strategies that restaurants can use to improve customer satisfaction, including offering high-quality beverages (like fountain!) and food, providing excellent service, creating an inviting atmosphere, and responding promptly to customer feedback. It's important to prioritize customer satisfaction in all aspects of the restaurant's operations to ensure long-term success—and a well-thought-out fountain soda solution can help.
Bernick’s Has the Best Soda Options
Managing the food and beverage portions of your business is a big task. However, there’s no shame in asking for help!
The Bernick’s team is always committed to helping you serve your customers. We can help your servers by providing a diverse range of beverage options, regularly monitoring consumer trends and research, and offering training and tools to stay ahead.