Coca-Cola Co. has won the contract to sell soft drinks at fast-food chain Arby’s, edging out PepsiCo Inc. in the latest battle over restaurant beverage service.
The deal will add more than 3,200 Arby’s locations to Coca-Cola’s base of restaurant clients. Atlanta-based Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. is controlled by Roark Capital Group, which also owns Coke clients Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.
“After conducting a thorough and highly competitive review of our current beverage contract, which concludes in early 2018, we have ultimately decided to transition to the Coca-Cola Co.,” Arby’s spokesman Chris Fuller said on Thursday. “We expect the transition to begin during the first quarter of 2018.”
Arby’s has been a PepsiCo customer for more than a decade.
“It’s been a privilege to bring our leadership in marketing and innovation, as well as our beloved beverage brands, to their consumers,” PepsiCo said in a statement.
Switches between the two soda giants have become increasingly rare in recent years, with restaurant chains sticking with one or the other. But PepsiCo won over Subway Canada last year, unseating Coke.
“Coca-Cola’s commanding share of the U.S. fountain business makes them a formidable opponent in the fight for restaurant taps, even as PepsiCo has stepped up its game in recent years by leveraging its massive food business,” said Duane Stanford, editor-in-chief of trade publication Beverage-Digest, which reported the news earlier.