Your Favorite Fast-Food Chain May Be Changing Their Soda Fountains Due to COVID-19

Grabbing a soda at Wendy's, Noodles & Company and other fast-food chains will look a lot different—potentially for the long haul.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still in effect, many restaurants are taking extra caution to keep customers safe and healthy. For example, diners are now required to wear masks, advised to avoid touching common surfaces and encouraged to follow other protocol that has become the new normal.

The colorful (and super fun!) Coca-Cola Freestyle machines all over the fast-food nation will soon be operated from your phone!

How Will the Soda Fountains Work Now?

To avoid the spread of germs among users of the Freestyle machines, Coca-Cola designed a program where customers can scan a QR code and create custom drinks on their phones. The new program eliminates any person-to-person contact that a regular soda fountain would have. That means you can order an orange vanilla Coke or cherry vanilla Dr. Pepper without spreading germs.

Ever wondered why a Coke from McDonald’s seems to taste better than usual? Here’s why.

When and Where Will This Go into Effect?

The Freestyle app will have its initial launch this summer at select Wendy’s, Five Guys and Firehouse Subs locations in Atlanta. Throughout the summer, the software will be pushed to more than 10,000 Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensers across the country. By the end of 2020, all Freestyle dispensers will have the mobile app-controlled contactless service in place.

You’ll be able to blend a custom soda on any smart device, including phones and tablets with QR scanning cameras. You don’t even need to install an app—customers just have to scan the QR code that appears on the Freestyle screen and continue their order.

Next: See how eating out will change when restaurants reopen.

Ceara Milligan
Ceara “Kiwi” Milligan is a professional marketing strategist and copywriter who is proud to call Milwaukee home. She loves baking, cooking, writing, listening to music, dancing, playing and hosting trivia, watching college basketball (Go Marquette!), telling lame jokes, and petting every dog that crosses her path.