Changing Coke for Pepsi: Frisch's makes the switch, hopes customers won't hold it against the eatery

CINCINNATI - There’s nothing quite like a Frisch’s Big Boy burger when there’s a craving, unless what you really desire is a Vanilla Coke.

If you want one, you won't find the beverage at Frisch’s much longer. The restaurant chain plans to switch to Pepsi products by the end of January. 

“It started when we opened our new restaurant in Lexington on December,” explained Karen Maier, vice president of marketing. Since that first switch, Frisch's has been changing over to Pepsi, location by location.

Frisch’s is ending the Coca-Cola era for two reasons, Maier said.

“Pepsi gave us a better deal than Coke,” she explained. And now, she added, the restaurants will be able to serve Mountain Dew and Dr Pepper.

Many fans of Frisch’s Facebook page aren’t happy with the change, with users like Melinda McGibony Jarman posting: “Half the point of going to Frisch’s is to get a good Coke. How could you switch to Pepsi? Is the tarter sauce next? This is not good for your business.”

Other posters, like David L. Schwier, have commented that “Cherry Coke was practically invented by Big Boy,” and write that abandoning Coke products is giving up on the restaurant’s tradition.

Maier’s message to those who say they’ll stop going to Frisch’s due to the change is a reminder: “We’re a restaurant, we serve food.”

“We are sorry for those people who say ‘We aren’t coming back,’” Maier said. “We’re sorry if that’s all you think of us.”

Frisch’s restaurants in the Toledo market have been serving Pepsi products for a number of years, she said, including the popular cherry-flavored Pepsi.

Taste was taken into major consideration before the change.

“One of the things that we did before we made our decision, was we bought Pepsi products from another restaurant and we added our vanilla and our cherry to them,” Maier explained. “And we thought ‘This will work, in addition to our ice and our flavorings.’ We urge people to try it out.”

As of Dec. 30, the Frisch's online beverage menu  still listed Coke products.

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