Soda system

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Scallion1
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2005/08/15 09:24:33 (permalink)

Soda system

I want to install a fountain soda system in my place. Here's the problem: Coca-cola Bottling of NY doesn't deal with this any longer. They used to be great, good prices and excellent service. The firm they passed me on to doesn't want to lend me the equipment because we're new and not terribly large. They want about $3,800 just for the tower, which is waaaaay more than I had budgeted. Any ideas, suggestions, links?

Thanks,
Thirsty Bill
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18 Replies Related Threads

    bassrocker4u2
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    RE: Soda system 2005/08/15 10:16:04 (permalink)
    just looking at ebay. new machine with carbonator and 7 heads for only 350. some assembly required....
    probably your best bet, bill.
    #2
    PaulBPool
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    RE: Soda system 2005/08/15 10:19:31 (permalink)
    Hey Bill
    As someone who oversees a couple of concession stands, and whose sister is in the beverage business, unfortunately, get used to seeing fountain service disappear. Both Coke and Pepsi are attempting to phase it out in as many locations as possible. Reasons given are twofold - a lack of quality control in the delivered product, and more importantly, health issues relative to potential illnesses which can be caused by owner/operators keeping the equipment less than sanitary. Additionally, fountain operations require periodic service and repair, which causes downtime (lost sales) and requires the bottlers to maintain mechanic/service fleets.
    It's becoming more and more difficult, as well as expensive, for the independent operator to maintain fountains, unless, as you discovered, you go with an independent soda fountain service.
    #3
    pacman
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    RE: Soda system 2005/08/15 10:19:36 (permalink)
    How 'bout PEPSI?


    Dan

    ...who would have said RC, but, figures that's not going to happen
    #4
    Scallion1
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    RE: Soda system 2005/08/15 10:19:39 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by bassrocker4u2

    just looking at ebay. new machine with carbonator and 7 heads for only 350. some assembly required....
    probably your best bet, bill.

    Thanks, rocker, I'll check it out. I'd like to hit these arrogant sob's at the distributor with a bottle (an old glass one) right in the noggin.
    #5
    midnightrun
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    RE: Soda system 2005/08/15 18:09:45 (permalink)
    Will they not lease the machine? We pay $43.00/month for lease and three annual service calls.
    #6
    bassrocker4u2
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    RE: Soda system 2005/08/15 22:02:30 (permalink)
    one reason not to lease from the big boys is because they will try to require you buy product from them only. at their highly inflated prices, of course. i went through that battle with coke, and won! well, kinda. what i did loose was that three time a year service contract. its kinda like giving up medical insurance to open your own restaurant..heehee
    three years, and no problem with our soda machine, knock on keys....
    my wife takes it apart and cleans the nozzles periodically, and thats all that we do...
    i figure we save about 50 bucks a week by purchasing syrup from u.s. food instead of coke.
    #7
    rllgthunder
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    RE: Soda system 2005/08/15 22:54:36 (permalink)
    Bass,

    You can save yourself a lot of aggravation if you pull the caps and nozzles every night. Use a clean plastic container (a plastic 1/6 pan works well), fill it with plain carbonated soda water from the machine and soak the parts over night. Use the key in the side of the carb heads (if it has one), turn it off and spray sanitizer water up into the heads. Wipe them out with a clean towel and wipe off the levers. This entire process takes less than 5 minutes. Put everything back together in the morning and you're ready to go. I learned this from a franchise trainer years ago and it prevents a lot of downtime plus keeps the machine sanitary. Some hot water mixed with white vinegar poured down the spillage drain also helps to keep that nasty sugar fungus from glogging up the works too.
    #8
    Scallion1
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    RE: Soda system 2005/08/16 06:51:33 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by rllgthunder

    Bass,

    You can save yourself a lot of aggravation if you pull the caps and nozzles every night. Use a clean plastic container (a plastic 1/6 pan works well), fill it with plain carbonated soda water from the machine and soak the parts over night. Use the key in the side of the carb heads (if it has one), turn it off and spray sanitizer water up into the heads. Wipe them out with a clean towel and wipe off the levers. This entire process takes less than 5 minutes. Put everything back together in the morning and you're ready to go. I learned this from a franchise trainer years ago and it prevents a lot of downtime plus keeps the machine sanitary. Some hot water mixed with white vinegar poured down the spillage drain also helps to keep that nasty sugar fungus from glogging up the works too.


    Sounds like great advice to me.

    More questions:

    What does "post-mix" mean, referring to soda machines?

    Any thoughts on the mini bag in box syrup containers?

    Important Question: this may be obscure, but I'll ask anyway. I'm going to feature eggcreams as a drink. Do you think that the carbonated water from a soda system is carbonated enough to make them properly?

    Continued Thanks,
    Bill
    #9
    eaglerich
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    RE: Soda system 2005/08/16 14:37:19 (permalink)
    rllgthunder is 100% correct on his daily maintenance of soda systems. I would add that this is something you want to do yourself. Your hourlies will lose those caps and diffusers and that compromises the quality of the drink. Also, post mix systems need calibration regularly with a brix cup. A weekly calibration will keep your drinks tasting as they should, and help keep your syrup costs in line.
    #10
    dreamzpainter
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    RE: Soda system 2005/08/16 14:52:22 (permalink)
    "thoughts on the mini bag in box syrup containers?" do you mean recycle wise?? The ones from my wifes shop are nonreturnable, if theres a little bit remaining when the box is switched she brings it home, great over shaved ice, flavoring "adult" drinks (Mntn Dew flavored vodka, cokeNrum)etc. Ive used a couple of the empties as plant container liners..
    #11
    Scallion1
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    RE: Soda system 2005/08/16 15:25:00 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by sonjaab

    There are 2 kinds of systems Pre mix and post mix.

    Pre mix is ready to use. Just hook up and pour.

    Post mix requires a water hook up and a carbonator machine.
    (Water mixes with syrup at gun/dispenser head.)

    Both need CO2 and either a table top dispenser or soda gun..................

    Premix requires less equipment but the soda costs more.

    There are a few independent fountain soda dists. out there

    Where are you in NY? I know and use a indy company......
    Coke and Pepsi are BANDITS !!!!!!!!!!!!!.....................geo

    my place is in yonkers, just north of the city line. love to know a good indy. you're so right about coke and pepsi.
    thanks.
    #12
    V960
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    RE: Soda system 2005/08/16 17:15:45 (permalink)
    Tractor Supply muck bucket and let the customers serve themselves.
    #13
    Drock
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    RE: Soda system 2006/12/03 16:17:09 (permalink)
    I have been looking every were for a pic of the inside of a soda machine and can't find anything so do u think any one here can send me one or sumthin. like how does it load up pop. and how to get the money out and stuff i don't have a vending machine yet but i will soon and would like to know what im doing before i get it.
    #14
    Kinsman
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    RE: Soda system 2006/12/04 11:50:24 (permalink)
    Cans are much easier.

    I built a draft system for my homebrew and it was not difficult or expensive. I like the convenience and variety.

    In a commercial setting however, the trouble, at least for me, ain't worth it. The time it takes to fill a cup with ice, then product, is too great, in my operation. Cans. Coke, Diet Coke, 7-up, Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew. Those Hansen's Kiwi/Strawberry etc. sell well too.
    #15
    CajunKing
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    RE: Soda system 2006/12/04 15:45:09 (permalink)
    Your might try your local yellow pages if you are close to a larger city, here in cincinnati we have a company called "multiflow".

    They provide the equipment and service, they sell a "cola" and other "sodas" that are comparable to the big companies.

    The bar I used to tend at had their system, fairly simple to use and operate overall.

    might check into it.

    #16
    Matt Gleason
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    RE: Soda system 2006/12/31 12:21:27 (permalink)
    The money is in Post Mix. I used to deal with Pepsi in Newburgh, NY and never had a problem. Towers can be purchased refrigerated or non-refrigerated. Either way you need Ice as well and that is going to run you some money! The non-regrigerated unit requires an ice bin with a cold plate at the bottom to chill the carbonation process. Whether you rent one or purchase your own, all the stuff is readily available online. Calibrating the unit is a matter of removing the hoods off the fountain heads and adjusting screws. The BRIX cup or calibration cup can be purchased online through a good supplier. Cleaning the heads as mentioned and the ice maker is very important especialy if you have HARD water! Hard Water can cause serious problems to an ice machine if not maintained correctly. You also want to keep these units in an open area with good air flow! Both the refrigerated soda tower and ice machine are going to produce alot of HOT AIR. Room temperature spec is usually 72 degrees F.
    Matt
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    marzsit
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    RE: Soda system 2007/01/01 19:30:58 (permalink)
    simple single-point postmix systems aren't too difficult to figure out, especially cold plate systems that mount the dispenser heads on the ice bin. using a cold plate eliminates an extra refrigeration system, and if you already have a bin-type icemaker then half of the work is already done for you. such a system would consist of the dispenser unit, a carbonator (sometimes built-in to dispensers, but not usually..) co2 tank(s), bib pumps, racks to hold the bib boxes (can be built from lumber) bib connectors (pepsi and coke use different connectors on their boxes) and connecting tubing. i suggest replacing all of the tubing at once if installing a used system, you'll need a bag of oetiker clamps and a setting tool (diagonal cutters work if you're careful) and only use stainless fittings, no brass or aluminum allowed in soda systems... you'll need a legal ice bucket to move ice from the icemaker to the dispenser.

    one advantage of having your own system is the freedom to use pepsi and coke products together, something you're never allowed to do with leased systems. homemade soda is also possible by putting the syrup in old-fashioned cornelius kegs, as long as the syrup is made for 5:1 brix.

    i used to service and install systems, but for some reason i never made any money doing it... that could also be why postmix is being phased out in many places?
    #18
    marzsit
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    RE: Soda system 2007/01/01 19:45:41 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Scallion1



    More questions:

    What does "post-mix" mean, referring to soda machines?

    Any thoughts on the mini bag in box syrup containers?

    Important Question: this may be obscure, but I'll ask anyway. I'm going to feature eggcreams as a drink. Do you think that the carbonated water from a soda system is carbonated enough to make them properly?

    Continued Thanks,
    Bill



    postmix means that the carbonated water and soda syrup are mixed on-the-spot as they enter the glass/cup. premix systems are used sometimes, basically they dispense finished product from large kegs and no mixing takes place. canned or bottled sodas are all premix.

    i'm not sure what you're asking about the bib connectors.. basically there are 2 types- one for coke products, and one for everything else. coke connectors are usually red, the other ones are usually grey or black.

    the carbonated water from a soda system will work for making egg creams or any other manually-created drink, but you will get the best results if you add a soda fountain tower to the system. this is a special type of faucet that delivers the carbonated water in a strong stream when you move the handle in one direction, and delivers a gentle flow in the other direction for topping off a drink. you're not supposed to stir an egg cream after the soda has been added, so you need the strong jet of water to mix the chocolate and froth up correctly. having the soda as cold as possible helps as well, so having a good-sized cold plate is a must.
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