Coca-Cola urges restaurants to “Cap the Tap”

Coca Cola Classic

Photo by Flickr user Kate Sumbler [ktpupp], used under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Andy Bellatti recently posted a great piece at Civil Eats calling out a bit of corporate hypocrisy. As he describes, Coca-Cola

launched a  “Cap the Tap” program–aimed at restaurants–in 2010, described in the following manner on the Coke Solutions Web site:

Capture Lost Revenue By Turning Off the Tap.

Every time your business fills a cup or glass with tap water, it pours potential profits down the drain. The good news: Cap the Tap™–a program available through your Coca-Cola representative–changes these dynamics by teaching crew members or wait staff suggestive selling techniques to convert requests for tap water into orders for revenue-generating beverages.

… Coca-Cola suggests restaurant waitstaff “turn off the tap” and offers to teach servers how to suggest “profitable beverages” to consumers, citing free refills….

As Bellatti notes,

It should not come as a surprise that the food and beverage industry will do whatever it can to maximize profits. However, a significant problem arises when this sort of campaign is created by a company that talks about its “commitments” to health and enjoys positive publicity from its partnerships with (or support of) health organizations, including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Society of Nutrition, and The Obesity Society.

“Cap the Tap” is a perfect example of the doublespeak that Big Food and Big Soda often employ. The carefully calculated veneer of wanting to be “part of the solution” and “offering choices” to consumers is negated by efforts like this one, which basically paints tap water as an enemy to be defeated.

Check out the full article, which includes plenty of links, here.

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