Coca-Cola will become the exclusive beverage provider for The University of Toledo beginning Aug. 1.
The switch from Pepsi to Coke is a move that will generate more revenue for the University as well as opportunities for promotional giveaways associated with sporting events in the Glass Bowl and Savage Arena. Coke also has agreed to set up its vending machines and coolers to accept debit cards, in addition to the Rocket Card, as an added convenience for UT students and employees.
“Coke offered a competitive package that will benefit all of the campuses, including The University of Toledo Medical Center on Health Science Campus,” said Phil Worley, UT contract manager. “This is the first time since the merger in 2006 that a beverage deal includes both Main Campus and Health Science Campus. We are excited that everyone will benefit from this 10-year contract.”
Worley said the process of transitioning from Pepsi to Coke is already underway with no expected interruptions in beverage services. The vending machines and coolers are being swapped out, and the tubing for all the fountain stations will be changed in the next few weeks. UTMC and Health Science Campus will continue to only serve sugar-free drinks.
“Pepsi has already started to come in and remove some of its equipment,” Worley said. “We have valued our partnership with Pepsi for the past 10 years and appreciate its help in this transition.”
In early 2015, UT began accepting requests for proposals as Pepsi’s 10-year contract was expiring. A committee made up of employees from UT athletics, food services, marketing and student affairs reviewed the information and made the final decision between Pepsi and Coke, the only two beverage companies to submit proposals.
“The opportunities for sales and promotions with Coca-Cola exceeded our expectations and made the decision an easy one,” said Mario Toussaint, UT senior director of operations, dining and clinical nutrition. “We think the faculty, students and staff are going to like being able to pay with a debit card and will enjoy all of the promotional giveaways that Coke has in the works.”
One of the plans is to bring the “Share a Coke” program to UT. This has proven popular at other campuses as students line up to get a free can of soda with their names on it, Worley said. Other promotions will revolve around purchasing Coke products and being entered to win tickets to sporting events and Cedar Point.
“Coca-Cola believes we have a unique opportunity to form an exclusive campus-wide partnership that benefits The University of Toledo students, faculty and staff by enhancing satisfaction, creating excitement on campus, and participating in the future growth of The University of Toledo,” the company wrote in its proposal.