The Extra Mile for Freestyle

Image Credit: The ODBI

The Briefing

In December of 2013, Zaxby’s, an Athens, GA-based chicken chain, announced that they’d begin offering Coca-Cola Freestyle machines in Zaxby’s restaurants. (Wondering what Freestyle is? Scroll down.) They began a series of TV & print advertisements. Each of these ads just proclaimed, “Now serving Coca-Cola Freestyle” or “Discover Coca-Cola Freestyle.” The ads didn’t say where or when the machines would be installed. Would they be offered at some locations? All of them? In the Southeast? The West? These questions needed asking & answering. So we visited six Charlotte, NC area Zaxby’s & asked employees about the installation of the machines. You’ll find the results below. But first…

What’s Freestyle?

Coca-Cola introduced their new Freestyle machine in 2009. The machine dispenses over 125 different Coca-Cola brand sodas & flavors, all of which can be combined, resulting in thousands of flavor combinations. The touch screen machine dispenses products from regular Coca-Cola to Vanilla Barq’s Root Beer to Seagram’s Diet Ginger Ale. For those who wish to be plain & ordinary, the machine also has water, along with some sparkling flavors of Dasani.

Freestyle machines have been installed in several different restaurants as well as Coca-Cola operated centers. Some restaurants that have Freestyle include Burger King, PDQ, Firehouse Subs, Wendy’s, Qdoba, BurgerFi, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Chili’s, Noodles & Company, & Five Guys. (A source in Mooresville says that Firehouse Subs and Noodles & Company recently opened new stores side by side near Lowe’s on Hwy. 150.) Thousands of Freestyle machines can be found in the Charlotte, NC area alone. Click here for a list.

Advertising

Zaxby’s has been promoting their newest addition several ways.

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Investigation

We visited six Zaxby’s locations in the Charlotte, NC area to see if they had Coke Freestyle machines installed. We omitted seven Charlotte area locations from our search: Sardis Rd, Kannapolis, Salisbury, Gastonia, Fort Mill, & both Rock Hill locations.

Concord

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A Zaxby’s employee at the location on Gateway Lane in Concord said that they should be getting a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine “within the next few months.” For now, customers have a choice of eight different Coca-Cola drinks.

Huntersville

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We were told at the Huntersville Zaxby’s that the location doesn’t have a Freestyle machine, but “hopefully soon.” As with the Concord location, customers currently have a choice of eight different Coca-Cola drinks.

University

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A Freestyle machine dominates the decor at the Zaxby’s on Sugar Creek Rd. The layout is typical of new locations with Freestyle.

University (IKEA)

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We expected to find a Freestyle machine when we visited the new Zaxby’s location near IKEA in North Charlotte, and we weren’t disappointed. The location, which opened on June 23, has a special Coca-Cola themed area near the registers.

Statesville

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Surprisingly, the Zaxby’s in Statesville has a Freestyle machine. We were surprised to see the machine tucked into an island across from the register area. Employees looked happy, as anyone near Coca-Cola should! :)

Charlotte (South Tryon)

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At this Zaxby’s location in southwest Charlotte, we found a Freestyle machine proudly displayed at the condiments area, with several customers enjoying their Freestyle drinks.

The Extra Mile for Freestyle

Charlotte area chicken lovers may be disappointed. Although four out of the six Zaxby’s locations we visited had Freestyle, the other two didn’t. Customers of those two locations, Huntersville & Concord, will have to wait for the Freestyle machines to be installed. Their only other option is to drive a further distance to a Zaxby’s that does have a Freestyle machine. But Coca-Cola fans rejoice! A Zaxby’s near you will have a Freestyle machine soon.

Summary Statement

Some locations don’t have Coke Freestyle, but the good news is that they will have it soon.

Exxon marks the spot. Or does it?

Exxon Quiz Energy

Old Energy Quiz Logo

quiz logo

New Energy Quiz Logo

Exxon is educating consumers about energy consumption & economical ways to conserve it through their Energy Quiz, which is similar to the Great Energy Challenge, a partnership between Shell (Exxon’s competitor) & National Geographic. Visitors can choose from a variety of quizzes that Exxon has made available. The fifth question in one of these quizzes, titled “People & Energy”, should spark confusion.

“Which country uses the most energy per person?” the question asks. To choose your answer, you must click the name of the country. As you hover over the country’s name, the corresponding shape of the nation lights up in blue. As ‘Germany’ is highlighted, the Germany image is expected to light up. But that’s not what happens. The shape of Iceland is highlighted instead, and vice versa when one hovers over ‘Iceland.’ Proof is shown below:

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We contacted Exxon a few months ago. They didn’t respond to our inquiry, but we feel that the company listened to us. A few weeks ago, they updated the Energy Quiz website & corrected their error. The updated question can be seen below.

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Problem solved.