Style Differences in Beverage Fountain Towers

Beverage fountains come in a variety of styles, shapes, and functionalities. New restaurant owners are often curious about what type of soda or beer fountain tower to invest in, and this article aims to shed light on factors you should be considering. Here are some available fountain tower styles:

Soda Fountain
A “soda fountain” offers a variety of drink selections via different valves, including soda, tea, lemonade, and/or juices, and the ice is dispensed from a center valve when the cup is pressed against the lever. Alternatively, newer touch screen machines can be used in which only one dispenser is used for all beverage types. Soda fountains are usually best for fast food chains and high-traffic stores in which people are frequently filling their cups.

Sod Fountain Tower
A “soda fountain tower” typically refers to a similar machine as a soda fountain, but the ice is usually kept in a bin in front of the beverages. Most sit-down restaurants use this style because the waiters can quickly scoop out the ice. It makes the process quicker than having to wait for ice to come out of the dispenser. These are not good to have in a fast food restaurant because the high-traffic people may stick their hands in the ice or drop things in the ice, which is not sanitary. Employees are trained on how to scoop the ice and keep the area sanitary, so soda fountain towers are best used behind the kitchen doors, for employee-use only.

Beer Towers
Finally, “beer towers” generally refer to the metal, slimmer, more elegant looking dispensers that draft beer comes from. The more elegant look is due to the fact that is used at bars to “show off” the selection of beers on tap. Beer towers can accommodate a single beer or multiple beers.

Factors Influencing Your Decision
If your space is limited, this will definitely affect your style of fountain and how many beverage dispensers you can have. Fortunately, fountain towers can be customized to fit your needs, such as by turning dispensers sideways or by fitting multiple lines in your system. For a soda fountain, the CO2 tank and syrup boxes require the most space. A 5-gallon box of syrup is approximately 11 inches x 15 inches x 8 inches. A standard carbonator is around 12 inches x 12 inches x 12 inches, and a 20-pound CO2 tank is approximately 8 inches in diameter and 28 inches tall.

Generally, the more beverages you want, the bigger and more expensive the system will be. Touch screen systems may also be more expensive, as they are newer and require more internal mechanical work. Keep in mind that once the system is purchased and installed, the ongoing costs of the syrups will add up. Choose a number of sodas/beverages that suits the level of traffic you anticipate so that you are not over-spending on the various syrups you’ll need.

Purpose. As mentioned above, and given you have the space, you’ll want a soda fountain tower – with an ice bin in the front – for a sit-down restaurant in which only employees will access it. If a particular drink is regularly sold, but not frequently sold, such as root beer, it may be more cost effective to sell it in bottles rather than through your soda fountain tower. Think about your clientele and restaurant needs. Fast food restaurants must think of sanitation issues, since customers will be getting their own drinks, and should opt for a soda fountain with an ice dispenser.

Browse the fountain tower designs provided by Lancer Corporation! Products can be viewed at or call 888-676-5196 for more information.

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