The future of Soda Fountain dispensing has arrived, at least in beta testing form. When I stopped at the San Marcos, California location of Noodles & Company to redeem the free bowl of pasta offer I received for my birthday from the chain, I discovered they have installed a new soda fountain machine which according the signs offers over 100 different flavor combinations. Amazingly the machine didn’t seem to be much any bigger space wise than a traditional fountain machine except for the fact it was freestanding instead of having to be mounted on a counter. The opening within which to place the cup seemed to be styled from the “Men In Black” school of retro looking futuristic designs.
Instead of offering individual taps for each of the 100+ flavors, there was just a single opening in the Coca-Cola Freestyle Fountain. You just insert the cup against the lever in the back to have ice drop through the machine into your cup, then just allow the cup to sit in the center while using the touchscreen to pick the brand of beverage to bring up a sub menu of available flavors from which you can choose to fill the cup with. Many of the flavor choices are ones that aren’t available in retail stores as bottled choices because there simply is no way any store would ever carry that many different flavors.