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Soda Fountains: Profit or Hassle?

Growing your dispensed beverage category starts with your soda fountains. Investing time and thought into the beverages that you are offering can help increase overall profits. More technology and options have emerged allowing c-stores to offer more variety than ever before. This will bring in customers and keep them coming back for more delicious and satisfying drinks raising your entire drink categories sales.

Beating the Competition

With 94 percent of convenience stores selling dispensed beverages, c-stores owners need to step up their game and distinguish their beverage offerings from the competition. Some easy ways to help you stand out are:

Adding a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine. 
Having a freestyle machine available in your store is an easy way to offering drink diversity and new exciting technology all-in-one. With over one-hundred different drink options and combinations, customers will be able to try something new everytime they come into your store.

Having additional flavor add-ins. 

Some restaurants and fast foods businesses like Sonic are known for spicing up their usual soda options with flavor add-ins. Offering syrup flavors like blue coconut or raspberry can take regular carbonated drinks to a whole new level. This is especially exciting for children and young adults who love being able to try something new they have not had before.

Get fancy with your cups and promotions. 

One of the best ways to get customers hooked on your beverages is by offering incentives and high-quality reusable cups. QuikTrip is known for their Big Q cup that allows customers to fill-up on thier favorite drinks at a discounted price when using their cup. They pay one price upfront and then a discounted re-fill price. This often helps customers feel like they are getting a good deal on their drinks encouraging them to keep coming back for more.

What Your Customers Want

Customization; customers want customization in almost every aspect within a c-store. This is no different when it comes to soda fountains.

Out-of-the-box Variety; when thinking about your soda fountain do not forget other important dispensed options. Teas, waters, and fruit juice options are also important to have in addition to carbonated soft drinks. Brands like Brisk Tea and Powerade can all be implemented into your soda fountain machine and will appeal to those customers looking for something other than soda.

Frozen Options; if you are really wanting to amp up your dispensed beverage category, adding a slushie or frozen drink dispenser in addition to your soda fountain can help draw in customers that are not typical soda drinkers. These come in a variety of fruity flavors or can even be mixed with traditional soda options like Coke.

Variety of brands; many fast-food retailers are notorious for only offering one brand of products over another. While some customers may be able to switch between Coke and Pepsi, the majority of shoppers are loyal to their brand. This makes it very important to try and offer both brands if possible. Having both of these companies soda lines available in your soda fountains will satisfy customers and will encourage them to choose your c-store over the another store nearby that does not have the same variety.

Working with Suppliers to Get the Best Deals

One way to make sure that your dispensed beverages will be profitable is by getting the best deal from your suppliers. Learning how to negotiate and get the price you want for products in your store is an important part of being an owner. Here are some tips to help set you up for a successful negotiation with your soda fountain suppliers.

  • Research and know the actual cost of the beverages you want to purchase
  • Make sure the suppliers know that you are informed and know the national prices
  • Get quotes from multiple suppliers so they know that there is competition for your business
  • Be patient and do not get frustrated if suppliers will not immediately meet your standards
  • Encourage suppliers by letting them know you are looking for a long-term partner and not just a one-time sale

Soda fountains do not have to be a hassle and can make you more sales with just a little effort and creativity. By giving your customers more flavors and variety your soda fountains have the potential to raise beverage profits. Taking the right steps with suppliers will allow you to offer your customers the lowest prices on their favorite sodas and drinks making sure they become a long-time customer.

in Building Your Business, Industry News