Coca-Cola lets consumers dispense drinks with their mobile phones

Coca-Cola Freestyle contactless drinks dispenser showing phone with qr code
FREESTYLE: Diners auto scan a QR code with their phone to get their drink poured contact-free

Diners in fast food restaurants and convenience stores equipped with Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensers can now use their mobile phone to select their preferred drink and instruct the machine to pour it for them, enabling a completely contact-free experience.

More than 10,000 of the dispensers will be equipped to support the new service this summer, the drinks giant says, following a successful pilot at Wendy’s, Five Guys and Firehouse Subs restaurants in Atlanta in the USA.

“All Freestyle dispensers will be contactless-compatible by the end of the year,” it adds.

“Holding your camera up to the display auto-scans a QR code on the display, which immediately connects to the cloud and brings the Coca-Cola Freestyle user interface to your phone,” explains Michael Connor, Coca-Cola Freestyle’s chief architect.

“You then select from the full menu of brands and flavours — and pour. The idea is to be safe, seamless and fun.”

“We intentionally designed this so anyone with a smart device could pour a drink,” Connor adds. “When you have a tray or a sandwich in one hand, you don’t want to deal with downloading an app. We took steps to make the solution super-easy, super-fast and super-reliable.”

A video produced by Coca-Cola shows how the service works:

The touch-free offering was developed in just over a week “as coronavirus lockdowns took effect”, Coca-Cola adds.

“This is a fully connected platform, which means we could use [the] existing software system to create this experience without having to rewrite tons of code,” Connor says.