Not your average soda fountain

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Maria-Jose Subiria


Passengers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport can now enjoy 106 regular, and low-calorie, Coca-Cola brand beverages from one interactive fountain machine.

Hartsfield-Jackson is the first airport to offer "Coca-Cola Freestyle," said Katena Carvajales, media relations manager at Hartsfield-Jackson.

Susann Faulk, of St. Louis, Mo., ordered a drink from a Burger King restaurant on Concourse A, and used the fountain machine for the first time recently.

She said though there were a lot of options, she chose safely on the touch screen and had the machine pour a regular, Coca-Cola beverage in her cup.

"It's a really neat look," said Faulk. "It's really retro ... kind of classic, but still modern."

Hartsfield-Jackson passenger Brandon Leggitte, of Atlanta, was more impressed with the technology of the machine.

"It's more convenient with better technology," he said.

Carvajales said the machines are featured at restaurants operated by HMSHost at Atlanta's airport.

"We were excited by the opportunity to feature Coca-Cola Freestyle at a world-class airport here in our hometown and to bring this innovative new experience to people from all over the globe," said Sydney Taylor, group director of marketing and innovation for The Coca-Cola Company. "Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been a partner for many years, which made the choice all the more appropriate."

According to Carvajales, the restaurants with the Freestyle machine include Famous Famiglia, Sbarro Pizza and Cinnabon, on Concourse D near departing gate D30, as well as Chick-fil-A, Burger King and another Cinnabon location on Concourse A near departing gate A11.

"Coca-Cola Freestyle is a perfect fit at the world's busiest airport as we aim to bring our customers choices that offer a sense of place and exceed their expectations," said Arnaldo Ruiz, assistant aviation general manager of commercial development at Hartsfield-Jackson.

Tim Slaney, general manager of HMSHost at Hartsfield-Jackson, said he is excited about the partnership between HMSHost and The Coca-Cola Company. "Our goal is to make the traveler's day better," said Slaney. "Bringing Coca-Cola Freestyle to our restaurant customers at Hartsfield-Jackson seemed the perfect way to deliver on that proposition."

The touchscreen Coca-Cola Freestyle fountain machines offer 106 regular and low-calorie beverages, such as water and juices, said Carvajales.

According to Scott Williamson, spokesperson for The Coca-Cola Company, the fountain machines are self-serve dispensers, which have been under development for more than four years. This represents a complete departure from anything the beverage company had previously offered, he said.

Williamson said the dispenser uses PurePour Technology and has the capacity to dispense up to 106 branded beverages in the same footprint as a standard, eight-valve machine.

"PurePour is proprietary micro dosing technology that the fountains use to blend concentrated ingredients with water and sweetener at the point where the beverage is dispensed," Taylor said.

The results from the beta testing of the fountain machines, which concluded last year, indicated an increase in total restaurant sales, including fountain servings, and a measurable lift in traffic, said Williamson.

Coca-Cola Freestyle has expanded to more than 150 restaurants and attractions throughout the U.S., including venues in Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Chicago, Ill., Dallas, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Antonio, Texas; Orlando, Fla.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and northern and southern California, said Williamson.

"We have created a concept that is quickly becoming recognized as the soda fountain of the future -- the way people will experience Coca-Cola beverages years from now," explained Gene Farrell, vice president of Coca-Cola Freestyle for Coca-Cola North America. "What better way to share this innovative new experience with people from all over the globe than to do so here in Atlanta, with our long-standing partners at the busiest international airport in the world."