I am a soda drinker. I probably drink my weight in soda every week (which probably makes my dentist very happy). And while I have a favorite, root beer, I’m open to just about any other soda there is to be had. Brown, clear, red, b lue…doesn’t matter…and that’s why the new fountain drink machines at Wendy’s are awesome.
Fast food or coffee shop? Pick one
This isn’t just a drink machine overhaul, the entire building and interior got a Frank Lloyd Wright treatment with a good dose of Panera Bread thrown in. I’m sure Wendy’s is trying to be all coffee shop-like, and it is a nice interior, but a burger joint isn’t exactly a place you want to settle down to show off your latest Mac Book. People sit in coffee shops not only because they like the environment but because they can tolerate the food and think they can relate to the other patrons. I like the smell of coffee and bread bowls, but the smell of a quarter pounder with cheese just isn’t that appealing.
Yet the new warm and inviting interior of Wendy’s is not what I’m most interested in, it’s the magic fountain drink machine. Of all the changes Wendy’s made with their shop, it’s the giant, glowing, touch-screen soda machine that you notice first…and while it’s a beautiful thing, I have to say it’s a little bit intimidating.
The new soda experience
Technology and soda aren’t things you normally expect to see together, but it doesn’t take long for you see the potential in this glorious machine. When you walk up, staring at you is an array of options from your basic Coke to your Seagram’s spritzer. Actually…this isn’t your basic Coke, or any other type… it’s more. When you touch the Coke logo you are then presented with options for additional flavors to mix in. Want a cherry Coke? No problem. Vanilla? No big deal. Orange? Wait, orange? Yes, orange too. Then move over to Sprite and you get more options like strawberry and raspberry, the latter being a very good combo that you should try. Regardless what option you pick on the screen, I’m assuming it gets mixed the same every time, and that’s something you won’t get anywhere else out of a normal fountain machine.
I remember making mixed sodas ats fast food places all the time when I was little. We called them “suicides” because it’s not hard to imagine the horrid taste you get when you mix Dr. Pepper, Sprite, orange Crush and maybe a little Hawaiian Punch. Soda mixes served two purposes. The “suicide” mixes were used more as dares to determine who had the strongest gullet, but you could also mix a few sodas together to create something that tasted wonderful. All of this was done with your basic fountain drink machine with maybe half dozen spickets on it…imagine if you had machine like the new one at Wendy’s that boasts over 100 combinations!
Fun is not cheap
When we went in to Wendy’s for a quick bite, I wasn’t planning on getting more than a Frosty, but the allure of this magic machine was too great and I had to experience it myself. I went up to ask for a small drink, expecting the usual 99 cent value price, but instead I was asked to fork over $1.60! That’s quite a premium if you ask me, especially if you’re a “normal” person and just get the normal flavors anyway. Most people maybe get a refill once during their stay, but for near $2 you can bet your fizzy lifting drinks that I’m going to make it worth it.
With so many soda options at my fingertips I could only do one thing – try them all. Okay, not really, but such a machine does make me want to fill my cup halfway, drink it (or dump it) and then try another mix. I’d be going back to the soda machine every 10 minutes…and then pissing every 20. I’m not sure if Wendy’s wants me to use the machine in that way, it can waste a lot of soda, but I guess since I paid $2 for it, I can do what I want. And now that the inside of Wendy’s is a little nicer, I don’t mind killing some time while getting a refill every few minutes.
But let me be clear that the swank interior is NOT what would keep me at Wendy’s longer, it’s the soda machine. Frankly, you could put that machine at a gas station and I’d be hanging out there all the time too. But I guess in the end, this new Wendy’s is the closest thing I’ll get to a soda bar. Hmmmm…a soda bar. Someone please invent that and open one in my town. I’ll be there on opening day.