Wednesday, January 25, 2023

[UPDATE] Popular Burger Chain Drops Pepsi for Coke

Culver's, the Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin-based chain known for their ButterBurgers and cheese curds, is in now in the news for another reason.  The company announced in recent days that it will soon drop Pepsi products from their restaurants in favor of beverages from The Coca-Cola Company.  

The switch, according to the Culver's website, will bring not only Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Sprite, Fanta Orange and Mello Yello, but also Minute Maid Lemonade, Hi-C Flashin' Fruit Punch and Powerade Mountain Blast, too.    

In addition to offerings from The Coca-Cola Company, Culver's indicated it will continue to offer its Signature Root Beer, sweet and unsweet tea, as well as its Signature "Blue Spoon" coffee.  In a move similar to Chick-fil-A which has had a longstanding relationship with Coca-Cola, Culver's will also continue to offer Dr. Pepper, a brand owned by Keurig Dr. Pepper Inc.  

Significant soda switcheroos are rare, but do happen, having most recently occurred in 2018 when Arby's, too, switched from Pepsi to Coke products.  The Arby's move was significantly larger, however, as its unit count at the time was in excess of 3,200 restaurants. (There are today more than 3,400 Arby's restaurants open nationwide.)       

Arby's is part of Atlanta-based Inspire Brands, a holding company controlled by Atlanta-based private equity firm Roark Capital Group.  In late 2017 Roark purchased a minority interest in Culver's.  Buffalo Wild Wings, acquired by Roark in 2018, is currently the only Roark affiliated restaurant not featuring Coca-Cola beverages.  

Although Culver's made no formal announcement via their Facebook page regarding the soda switch, commenters have chimed in on unrelated posts in the days since word got out to express their feeling about the change.  

"Bring back the Pepsi please! That is one of the main reasons I went there," one fan wrote, while another asked, "the main reason you go to a restaurant is for Pepsi?"  

Sentiment was equally sensible on the Coke side of things with one fan saying "I am so glad you will finally have Coca-Cola!! I didn’t go to Culver’s very often even though I love your burgers & fries because I hate Pepsi!"

Culver's entered the metro Atlanta market in 2016 with a restaurant in Dawsonville, and today has 20 restaurants across the state.  The chain will in the coming months open their 21st location in Georgia when they debut a new restaurant on Midland Commons Boulevard in Columbus.  

During the first nine months of 2022, Coca-Cola held about 40% of the US retail market share by volume, followed by PepsiCo with about 29%, according to Beverage Digest data.

Are you pleased to see Culver's add Coca-Cola products to its offerings?  Does a restaurant's soda offerings affect your willingness to patronize it?  What is your favorite soda: Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper or perhaps you're more an RC Cola or OLIPOP fan?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Kitster said...

This is good news! My family dines at Culver's periodically, but I would have dined there more if they offered Coca-Cola products. I am a diet soda drinker, and Diet Pepsi is just awful.

And I will not eat in (or buy a meal that includes a during) at a restaurant that features their own sodas. Like some of the newer Nashville Hot chicken places that have opened here in the last several years (namely Joella's and Scoville). They offer their own branded soda - and it is awful.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see that the Signature root beer is staying. Best A&W knockoff I’ve ever tasted!

Alex said...

Culvers: Best fast food burgers out there. Frozen custard is awesome too.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the brand of soft drink does affect my choice in restaurants.

The prices charged are over the top most of the time. This affects me trying to watch the cash flow
Water (no bottle stuff) is my beverage of choice.

CloseOTP said...

I have literally, never in my 50 years of life, gone or not gone to a restaurant because of the soda they serve. I find soda snobs odd. I prefer certain sodas over others, but I don't go to a restaurant because of the soda it serves. There's always water if the soda doesn't excite you. You go to a restaurant because they have food you can't get somewhere else - yes it may be a burger, but each burger is unique. Culvers is different than Burger King which is different than Whataburger which is... You can get Coke/Pepsi/etc. in literally thousands of stores. Maybe the one exception is Coke at McDonalds.

Anonymous said...

it is true that McDonald’s has the best Coke. Coke has such a special relationship with McDonald’s that they specially fine-tune the syrup/carbonation/temperature ratio to be very precise - for McDonald’s. tastes best with light ice.

Anonymous said...

I will never understand the huge hype for Culver's. It's not even good, but even if it was, it's still just a fast food burger.

Ham said...

Brand of soda has zero impact on my choice of restaurants, but that Chick-fil-a sweet tea is a different story.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad they switched to Coke. It doesn't get any better than Coke's diabetes-inducing HFCS and cancer-causing caramel coloring.

Anonymous said...

The latest scientific studies show that use of Splenda or Stevia, or anything like that is actually worse for your diabetes than a high fructose, corn syrup or sugar. Those artificial sweeteners make you crave sugar following use of them if you just drink the sugary carbonated water to begin with, you’d actually be consuming less. This is what the scientific studies have found.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I'm old enough to remember when the "Science" told us that the egg was killing us and that low fat and high carb diets will save us all. Now "science" tell us that the egg is a super food and cars are evil!

Who are these people they are studying for these sugar substitute studies? Probably people who already have a craving for sweets most likely. Who is funding these studies? Probably Big Corn and Big Sugar companies. I use Stevia in my daily morning coffee and I don't eat sweets or crave it. But trust the "Science" because the "Science" is settled.

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