## Tuesday, February 21, 2012

### A Penny for your thoughts

Here’s a story on PENNY STATISTICS!

Flip a penny and the chance of getting a tail (or head) is ½ or 50%. No problem-this is a concept that anyone can understand.

But change the scenario slightly. Suppose a penny held vertically on a table by the index finger of one hand is spun vigorously with a flick of the other index finger and allowed to come to rest flat on the table. Is the probability still 50% of either a head or a tail facing up?

Experts refer to this phenomenon as the "pop bottle cap effect". Find a cap from an old 16 oz. bottle of Pepsi or Coke and spin it in the same fashion we did the penny. About 90% of the time or more, the cap will fall with its top facing down and the sides facing up. Now how does this relate to the penny? If you examine closely a relatively new shiny penny, you will observe that the edge around the penny protrudes further on the tail's side than on the head's side. Thus, the extra edge on the tail's side simulates the side of the pop bottle cap although certainly not as pronounced visibly. The experts proclaim that the extra edge produces results that in the long run converge on 60% tails facing up. Of course, if you use a worn penny, this advantage in favor of tails disappears. Amazing but true!

MORALE OF THE STORY : It is up to you Quality people to have the technical knowledge to know the “USE AT THE CUSTOMER” and “THE PRODUCT SPECS”  to be able to know about differences like this!

1. We have seen it, the promised land. The soda dispenser of the future. A machine so sleek it should be in a technology museum and so smart it can dispense more sodas than you can imagine. If you haven't tasted Peach Mello Yello or Raspberry Coke Zero, have you truly lived?

We don't normally go gaga over food-service machinery (especially when it's designed by a multinational global conglomerate peddling a product we rarely consume), but when we first spotted the Coca-Cola Freestyle with its sexy contours and previously unsipped sodas at recently opened Westwood pizzeria 800 Degrees, it blew our mind. (It also made us feel like a 45-year-old suburban dad who just discovering texting.)

The soda machine of the future is, technically, the soda machine of the past. Coca-Cola started rolling it out in 2008, installing the first one at Willy's Mexicana Grill in Atlanta. Freestyle dispensers didn't hit Los Angeles until 2010, when they popped up at the Paradise Cove Beach Cafe in Malibu, Fatburger in West Hollywood and All About the Bread. There are now more than 100 Southern California locations and 2,000-plus locations around the country with the machine. (Soda devotees can find them via the Facebook locator tab and an iPhone app.)

What's so special about the Coca-Cola Freestyle? It looks light-years better than any other soda dispenser we've ever seen. It's sexy, contoured and silver, though there are also versions in red and in black. If it looks like the sports car of soda machines, that's because Coca-Cola collaborated with Italian car design firm Pininfarina, which is known for, among other things, the Ferrari P4/5. For the user interface, a full-color touchpad, Coca-Cola brought in consultants who had worked on early designs of the iPod UI.

Then there's the soda. A typical soda machine can dispense six to 12 types of soda. With new flavors being added, the latest version of the self-serve Freestyle can dispense more than150.

When Coca-Cola first launched Operation: Build a Better Soda Dispenser (not its real name) in 2005, it thought it would be keen to let people create whatever sodas they wanted. You want three shots of vanilla? A double dose of orange syrup in your cola? You got it. The idea was a flop. People made terrible sodas. There was also tons of waste.

Instead, the company decided to build a cartridge-based soda dispenser. The basic process works the same as a desktop printer, but instead of ink the cartridges are filled with ultra-concentrated flavoring agents. All of the cartridges, which last 75-120 days, live inside the machine except for high-fructose corn syrup, which is piped in from a larger vat.

Coca-Cola brought in Dean Kamen, known to most people as the Segway inventor but known to scientists for devising a system for microdosing prescription drugs. He applied that technology to soda pop, and voila: a soda machine with hundreds of options, including regional flavors and sodas not sold in cans or on store shelves. The Freestyle dispenser at 800 Degrees boasts six flavors of Coke Zero, four types of Mello Yello (peach, raspberry, grape and cherry) and all sorts of variations on Fanta, Pibb and Sprite.

The upshot? People drink a lot more root beer than previously assumed.

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2. New Heights
Coca-Cola Company has pushed their continuous improvement to new heights leaving their competitors in the dust with their new product the Coca-Cola Freestyle. The soda machine has officially adapted into the high tech world. Coca-Cola freestyle is equipped with a touch screen and allows the user to mix flavors on the spot. The user can choose over 100 different flavors to choose from. The technology that Coca Cola used was actually developed for dialysis and cancer treatments. The Coca Cola company has eliminated the large five gallon pre mixed syrup bags in the original fountain drinks and uses 46 ounce ultra concentrated cartridges to mix drinks and allow a greater array of flavor all coming from one spout. The machine also uses measuring metrics there are RFID tags to keep track of all the different flavors held inside the cabinet and their current status. Also the freestyle has the ability to send back other data metrics to coca cola headquarters including the most flavors mixed, when and how much people are buying, what locations are most profitable, and what the popular flavors are. The coca cola freestyle is the hottest new item on the market and is making a splash in California, Georgia, and Utah currently. There will be 60 around the country by the end of the summer.
By: Charlie Douglas

3. It’s not always easy to stand out in the fast-food business, particularly under the shadow of the Golden Arches of industry leader McDonald’s Corp. But that hasn’t stopped burger joints from trying to grab consumers' attention, especially in a down economy when shoppers are more likely to trade down.

Miami-based Burger King Corp., the No. 2 burger chain in the world, is looking to grab a few new customers and keep the loyalty of the ones it as through a massive redesign of its stores—what it calls its 20/20 concept. The redesign features LCD TV menu screens, red flame chandeliers and corrugated metal inside and outside the restaurants for a more industrial, modern look. In the kitchen, new broilers will help franchises cut energy costs. Gas consumption and related costs are reduced by 52 percent with the new broiler compared to previous broilers, while the consumption and cost of electricity will be reduced by 90 percent.

The costs for the new look fall mainly on the shoulders of the franchisees, who operate close to 90 percent of Burger King’s locations. So far, about 60 restaurants have adopted the 20/20 design.

Hector Munoz, senior director of retail image and engagement at Burger King, says, so far, franchisees have been enthusiastic about the new look and are seeing good returns on the strategy.

Site Optimizer: When did Burger King first decide to redesign the 12,000 locations with this new look?

Munoz: The redesign has been in development for well over two years now. The first site officially opened last year in November in Bogota, Colombia. [The goal is] not to redesign all 12,000 locations throughout the world overnight but as remodels occur and as new restaurants are being built to move forward with the redesign.

SO: How long will it take to complete all the 12,000 locations?

Munoz: It’s going to take some time.… We do have an additional 74—both new restaurants and remodels—that are scheduled to be up and running by end of fiscal 2010. We don’t have a set timeframe. We obviously need to take the appropriate business realities into consideration and take those into consideration region to region.

SO: How much will the redesign cost each individual franchisee? Reports are putting the number between \$300,000 and \$600,000 per restaurant.

Munoz: One of the number one priorities behind this initiative is to allow our franchisees to continue to preserve cash-on-cash returns. [We have] three levels for our operators to choose from so that the investment we ask them to make is well within the levels they’re comfortable with. The range is not even worth sharing. There are just a lot of unknowns at this point. There could be minor remodels that take place for as low as \$25,000 to \$50,000. Or it could be a new restaurant building which could range significantly as well.

SO: What kind of customers are you trying to attract with this redesign?

Munoz: The design has universal appeal across a number of consumer segments… including the heavy fast-food user and parents with kids. We toured roughly 10 different regions throughout the world to get a good perspective on Burger King's consumers.… We’re looking to ensure that the Burger King brand remains relevant.… The goal of the redesigns is to propel the business forward. One of the things around the design is it is adaptable. It has that flexibility to be culturally relevant no matter where it is throughout the world.

SO: What are the challenges in trying to change the image of a brand and attract new customers to that image? Is a redesign enough to change people's perception?

Munoz: We’re looking to … [deliver a] … superior guest experience that rivals casual dining through the design work. We made a lot of great progress to date with the restaurants that have opened. We’re excited to continue to reinforce the commitment to global restaurant growth. Based on the consumer work that’s been conducted so far, consumers are extremely receptive to this new look.

4. Burger King
Burger King is playing “catch up” to the leader fast food chain, McDonalds. However if Burger King does not re invent their image and market to new customers their Number 2 status as the world’s second fast food chain will soon be overcome by Wendy’s corporations, which owns Wendy’s and Arby’s restaurants. The fast food giants along with Burger King are trying to attract new clientele by investing millions of dollars into their restaurants redesigning the interior and adding LCD Televisions sets to make the experience more of a dining experience than a fast food stop. Along with creating a friendlier environment for the customers they are looking to reduce cost of electricity by 90 percent. Going green has been a popular marketing strategy as well as a lean tool. Burger King plans to spend three to six hundred thousand dollars on twelve thousand stores. This is a high risk strategic plan to ultimately change the perception of customers coming to Burger King along with expanding their customer base. As I said before McDonalds, Wendys, and Arby’s have put in place the same strategic plan. With restaurants such as Chick-Fil-A, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and Smash Burger expanding with nice new restaurants that offer the experience the fast food giants are thriving for it creates a new era of fast food.