any link between brand name soft drinks and your sales

I was trolling around today working on a paper for a marketing class dealing with branding and prices and found a link to a generic cola … 03BIB.html

that got me thinking about if there was a substantial link to brand named soft drinks and increased sales. What have you seen and is there a link between sales and soft drinks at your location. If there isn’t or it is negligable is there a benefit to staying with the brand names vs a “house” soft drink? This last question probalby needs to assume that the total cost of the generic is cheaper per serving and that it truly is a subsitute product.

My personal experience as a consumer makes me want to say it doesn’t matter what drinks you serve. I’ve not really ever cared what drinks are served when I go out. I’m going out for the food not the drinks. I certainly have my preference but it’s not the driving force. My previous 12 years of experience working for Pizza Hut seems to agree with that (ahh the memories…). I never had a customer walk out or not order or whatever because I didn’t have the soda they drank and only a few bought a different drink (tea, water, etc). But then again I’ve never worked anywhere that served a generic substitute as their only soft drink selection.


Ok my 2 cents is I have to disagree with you 100%. I am a Coke drinker and I really do not like Pepsi especially if it is mixed with alcohol, let alone some third party soda maker. It does taste different. I do alter my retaurant choices slightly based on drink availability. Now if a place has top notch food I might look the other way… but I have yet to eat at a high-end restaurant that the server said “would you like our HOUSE COLA with your chateaubriand” :stuck_out_tongue: The profit margin on fountain soda is so high that I think the sales that you would loose would offset any possible savings you might think you are getting. Maybe I am being over picky but lets take a quick look at beer. Personally I do not drink beer…I just do not care for malt… but I have plenty of friends that if we went out and the bar said “sorry no Bud or Miller products… but I have this less expensive alternative,” well lets just turn off the open sign to cut on the electricity bills to cut out some more of the fat. Just my thoughts. :smiley:

Oh just to add a little something… you might not and probably would not have someone walk out if you did not have their drink of choice…, but it is just the first strike against you for getting them back in the door. You have now got thier mind on “off-brand” soda and that makes me think… “off-brand” ingredients? Service? Pricing? Why are you selling me a $20 pizza with cheap soda? Where else are you saving money on (read: cutting corners) that I cannot see? I think this opens up a lot larger issue than most would admit.

A while back I tried an experiment. I own my pop cooler so I can put anything I want in it. I have a shelf that has the cola selections both Coke and Pepsi. I decided to try a cheaper house brand at 25 cents less per can placed next to the other 2. I sold ONE can in 2 weeks even with the cheaper price.

Remember it’s just MY two cents, b/c I know it may ruffle some of the feathers on my Southern brothers out there, but in my experience if I see “RC Cola” in a place, it means that guy is one step from foreclosure and is trying anything at all to cheapen up his products to hang on. I drink real Coke, and Diet Pepsi, don’t know why but that’s the way I roll. Any “house brand” is a flashing signal of low-quality through-out to me. Now…commence firing.

I personally have no preference between soft drinks, and I usually only drink iced tea when I’m out at a restaurant - so my opinion may be worthless on this. But, I think people want to see either Pepsi or Coke products served. Anything else is going to look tacky I think.

As for Coke or Pepsi, I truly don’t think it matters when it comes right down to it. I used to be with Pepsi and during that time I had a lot of people tell us that they wish we had Coke. Nobody was ever upset and I can’t believe somebody wouldn’t come out for pizza that they love because they couldn’t get Coke.

Since switching to Coke I have about the same amount of people now saying they wish we had Mountain Dew. Oh well, you can’t please everybody.

I agree with the other posters. When it comes to colas, you need to offer one of the big two. Others, even with brand names, are perceived as “cheap” and degrade your image.

On the other hand, adding some specialty sodas in other floavors from boutique suppliers can be a good thing. They sell for MORE not less.

When we did our own coolers and carrried both Coke and Pepsi, Coke outsold Pepsi by a good bit… but we have discovered that the rest of Pepsi’s list (Mtn Dew, Sierra Mist, Mug RB) outsell the rest of the Coke products by a wide margin.

So, in this crazy process of trying to open my first shop, I ran a survey online. Coke or Pepsi? The overwhelming response has been Pepsi. If this place ever actually opens up, and I decide for whatever really absurd reason to open another one, I’ll run the same survey again.

I’m looking to sell 20oz and 2 liters anyway. Nothing fountain. And this might sound crazy, but selling the sodas at cost or at least very very close to cost. My hope is that this actually does drive more food sales.

In anycase, I think it really depends on the area. I’m a big Mountain Dew drinker, for that matter, and I have the gut to prove it too. For a while, I lived in a tiny podunk town in Iowa, population maybe about 4000. You couldn’t get Mountain Dew anywhere in that town. No one sold it, and seeminly no one drank it but me. Occassionlly, you’d see it at the local grocer, but more often than not I had to drive the 15 miles to the Wal-Mart to get it.

I drove the fifteen miles. To this day, I still wonder how many more people in that town drove those same fifteen miles.

For some reason I found it totally amusing at the thought of someone calling and asking “do you have mountain lightning”

Between coke and pepsi I don’t think it matters. Our pepsi dist. at one of our stores won’t let us sell dr pepper and in this area it is by far one of the most popular drinks around…we have to use their version dr. wells…people don’t care.

If someone was serving RC I would wonder what kind of cheap crap I was eating.


One day I hope pizzasteve decides he wants to make money! :wink: Will someone please explain the profit margins on fountain soda.

One day I hope pizzasteve decides he wants to make money! :wink: Will someone please explain the profit margins on fountain soda.

I completely understand profit margins on fountain soda. But I refuse to deliver the stuff. I’ve done it before, and it can be a messy situation sometimes.

The plan was to open in the hotel. Only do delivery and carry-out to start, then open the bar and offer lunch buffet. Once the bar opened, then bring in foutain at that time. The only other independent pizzeria in the area was doing a $6.99 all you can eat pizza buffet, and that included your fountain pop drink.

I ran the numbers sometime ago, but if I remember correctly, you can sell the 20 ouncers at cost and the fountain for the same price and still make a nice profit off the fountain at that price.

I’d like somebody to explain them to me too, because I don’t have big profit margins on fountain soda. If you have dine-in it is now expected that you offer free refills, and that’s going to kill your margins fast.

Including employees drinking for free, I run about 50% cost on my fountain soda. Still better than bottles, but not great either.

I found a link explaining about how many sodas you can get in a bib. … guide.html

Now figure a 5 gal bib is around $50.00 it would pour about 214 16oz servings. We currently sell a 16oz dine-in all you can drink soda for $1.89. I find that most people go back for one refill, and that with ice factored in they don’t pour a full 16oz to begin with. So figure at worst 100 paid servings at $1.89=$189.00 off of a $50.00 investment with the only labor cost involved of washing dishes

The other big factor is the ice. You can add 50% to your estimates based on ice in most cases. That being said… a five gallon Coke BIB will yield 30 gallons of finished product. 30gal X 128oz = 3840oz/BIB With no ice you have 240 16oz glasses and lets say one refill each so 120 sales @ $1.89 = 226.80. take away approx. one third for the BIB, cups, lids, and/or dishwashing, etc… so you make $150 per BIB minimum. Throw in the ice and you only use 8oz of soda per fill… so insead of your 240 glasses being split you have doubled them for almost no expense. Profit now jumps to approx. $375 for that same BIB. All this for self service. Yeah you are going to have the occasional heavy soda drinker that eats all the profits out of his and the next three customers… but in the end you should be making good money on fountain soda.

Your math is a little bit off Mike - It should be brixed at 5-1, not 6-1. So for that $50 BIB I get 1.5 cents per ounce. We use 20oz cups (maybe a mistake) and I believe the customers refill 3 times on average - once while waiting for their pizza, again when they get it, and then once again to wash down.

So each drink sold is costing me 75 cents, and selling for $1.89. That’s a 40% COGS, and I probably get to 50% with employee drinks (also a mistake, but can’t take it away now.)

Of course it’s profitable, but some people seem to think that each fill is just pennies and it’s actually several of them.

Sorry I have to correct you. Yes it’s Brix’d at 5:1 so 25gal or water to 5gal of syrup = 30 gal finished soda. Yes the number are approx. as far as ice and refills… but no matter how you look at fountain soda… you should be making easy money off of it no matter what the percentages are.

Thanks for the insight and comments everyone.


Piper, I think your refill assumptions are nuts. We ran a coke fountain for about 4 years and switched to Pepsi for 6 years. We used 16oz cups and let people get thier own drinks. I can tell you for an absolute fact that that the average use per cup was less than 1.5 times filled and that is before figuring ice. I guess the average fill was about 10-12oz of soda and the average total used was about 15 oz per purchase. Those figures are based on several years actual use in a location that was slammin’ busy at the base of a major Colorado ski resort with tons of kids and active people.

We averaged about 250 sales per BIB less staff drinks etc. We would run maybe 10 servings of staff use during the shift (3 crew most days) Allowing for the staff drinks we sold 230-240 per BIB. Even at $1.00 per drink and with cup expenses the margins would be pretty good but we charge $2.50 including tax. Our margin on fountain soda including everything was better than 85%.

Soda in the cup was worth maybe 15 cents. Even if they filled it the three times you mention, the total cost fur us would be under 50 cents. After years of tracking it and comparing sales to cup purchases, I am pretty solid on my numbers. Bottled drinks sell for the same price but cost so much more!

Good point Mike - LOL, I can be pretty stOOpid sometimes!

They’re not really assumptions, this is in a full service restaurant where we track the number of refills. When I typed “I believe”, I didn’t mean to make an assumption - just that I would have to go check the data to get the exact number.

I think we’re comparing apples to oranges. You were selling slices at a ski resort where people are on the move - sit down, swallow a slice and get back on the chairlift. Ours is a full service restaurant where people often spend up to an hour consuming 3 or 4 courses of food. They tend to drink a bit more under those circumstances.

I’m not saying somebody should consider selling bottles over fountain, just that the fountain margins aren’t as high as everybody thinks - especially in a full-service setting where drinks are refilled for free. The margins (percentage and contribution) are significantly lower than beer, wine and specialty drinks for example.

So in a dine-in setting, the customer ordering a fountain drink makes me the second least amount of money of all the options, beating out only the dreaded “We’ll take 7 waters.”

Anyway, I think we’re all in agreement on the original question - stick to the name brand pops!

Good Point! Coke it is… :mrgreen:

IMO— Nothing on your menu should ever be priced 1.89 or 1.69 etc… it should allways be 1.99, 2.99, 0.99. People dont care about the difference in .89 or .99, but we do, and those dimes add up. My drinks are 1.99 refilable coke, and the only people who complain about the price are people who are there 3 times a week, but they allways come back. I have fountain coke drinks and bottled 20oz pepsi drinks. I sell about 1 pepsi product a week to 8 bibs of coke products.