Burger King is expanding its use of the new Coca-Cola Freestyle beverage machines, the company said Tuesday, and this week it also will be offering free Whoppers for a holiday limited-time offer.
Officials with the Miami-based burger chain said they plan to install the high-tech Freestyle machines in the more than 850 company-owned locations across the country.
Currently, about 120 Burger King locations have the machines, which offer guest the option of customized drinks from more than 100 brands using touch-screen technology.
Steve Wiborg, president of Burger King Corp.’s North America division, said in a statement that the fountains will further enhance the guest experience at the quick-service chain, which has been undergoing menu upgrades since it was acquired by private investor group 3G Capital Management in 2010.
“The ability to customize your own beverages combined with the quality that Coca-Cola Freestyle delivers to our guests is a perfect addition to our most recent menu offerings,” he said. “We’re excited to be the largest franchise system in the United States to roll out the fountains in all company-owned restaurants and look forward to further growing our business with Coca-Cola as our partner.”
Coke officials said the move will make Burger King the largest chain to bring in the fountain machines. The 930-unit Five Guys Burgers and Fries chain has said it will add Freestyle machines systemwide — although fewer than 86 locations have them currently and the move would be optional for franchisees. The 450-unit Firehouse Subs chain also plans a systemwide rollout of Freestyle machines.
Other chains, including Wingstop, Taco Mac, Wendy’s and The Counter, also have brought in the Freestyle machines to some locations or are testing them. Some operators have said the high-tech functionality and customizable experience for the consumer has helped drive beverage sales. Others have mentioned challenges in longer pour times and longer lines for customers who may not be familiar with how to use the machine.
In other news, this week Burger King will offer a buy-one-Whopper, get-one-free deal from Dec. 9-11 at the chain’s 7,523 locations across North America.
Officials said the deal was a holiday gift to show appreciation to loyal Whopper lovers nationwide.
Last week, the chain said it would give free small value portions of fries to customers on Dec. 16, with no purchase necessary, in an effort to promote its new-and-improved reformulated French fries.
The Burger King chain includes 12,400 locations in 79 countries.