The global craft soda market is still booming — expected to reach $855 million by 2028, according to a 2021 report from Fior Markets. While consumers are looking for healthy options across the board, they also want opportunities to let loose and enjoy a treat or two, guilt-free.
“What matters is the indulgence,” says Chase Slepak, chief operating officer of Boylan Bottling Co. “Maybe you don’t sit down and eat a burger or a slice of pizza every days. When you do, you’ll crave a soda. It’s so natural, it’s comforting, and that’s what you’d like to enjoy with these types of comfort foods. If you want to treat yourself, you should really take advantage of it.
Premiumization has been a strong trend for years, especially among Millennials and Gen Z. The launch of a premium fountain drink program allows quick-service restaurants to capitalize on this trend with every menu option. .
“Fountain programs in general tend to generate better margins,” says Slepak. “They can also usually become self-service, which is less of a burden on already overworked restaurant staff. Quick service restaurants are also finding that fountain programs mean a lot less inventory to manage – imagine 10 boxes attached to a machine, rather than cases on cases of individual units.
Of course, bringing premium brands into a fountain program usually results in even higher margins. “Premium pricing usually translates into premium margins,” says Slepak. “It’s a huge point of differentiation for many restaurants. Our team has found many Yelp reviews that highlight and praise restaurants for having a Boylan soda fountain. Through our brand value, this shows consumers that the quick service restaurant has a slightly more thoughtful beverage program than the norm and aligns with more premium menu offerings.
One hurdle that restaurants often encounter when implementing a premium beverage program is the sheer difficulty of sourcing. “Nobody really wants to partner with a new distributor just to bring new beverage products,” says Slepak. “Most general foodservice distributors have limited beverage options built-in. Boylan has a unique strategic partnership with Dot Foods, a major redistributor to major restaurant distributors. We also have over 150 independent distribution partners. This extends our reach to all major general foodservice distributors. Restaurants in all 50 states can stock Boylan products from distributors they already do business with.
It makes sense that equipment maintenance is also a concern. “One of the big questions that often comes up when we start talking about fountains is, ‘Where can I get the equipment and who is going to maintain it?’ Slepak says. “We did everything we could to create a very seamless and comprehensive set of amenities for our catering partners.”
A Boylan fountain program allows restaurants to benefit from consumers’ high familiarity with the brand. “We have national brand recognition, which most craft soda brands don’t have,” Slepak says. “We are one of the few craft soda brands to offer a fountain product. We also use pure cane sugar and all-natural flavors and extracts. In addition to the ease of distribution we offer, restaurateurs can be sure that they are truly offering a premium product to their customers.
To learn more, visit boylanbottling.com.
By Kara Phelps