Culver’s, the beloved Wisconsin fast-food chain based in Prairie du Sac, is switching from Pepsi to Coca-Cola products and creating somewhat of an uproar.
The company hasn’t posted about the switch on Facebook, but hundreds of people have sounded off beneath unrelated posts on
Do you prefer Pepsi or Coca-Cola?
“I will have an excuse to find a new place to eat dinner twice a week,” said one unhappy Culver’s fan.
“I just read that Culver’s is switching from Pepsi to Coke. Bye-bye, Culver’s. You used to be a favorite place to eat, but what you have to drink is too important,” wrote another Pepsi drinker.
Other commenters applauded the move, which has gotten national media attention.
“Thank you for switching to Coke. Great choice. That’s why almost all other national chains use Coke. It’s the best,” said another.
Culver’s spokesperson Alison Demmer said the company isn’t tracking the reaction. “So, I don’t know, did X amount of guests say it’s positive and X amount of guests say it’s negative. But overall, we’re getting some guest questions and we’re answering those as best we can, as well as positive sentiment from guests who obviously love Coca-Cola.”
Demmer said the company is in the middle of the switch, “transitioning to Coca-Cola products as we speak.”
The company, best known for its frozen custard and ButterBurgers, has 900 restaurants in 26 states, she said, and the switch will be completed this year.
Demmer said she couldn’t discuss the reason behind the change. “We’re not really going into details behind the (switch), the rationale, other than it was what’s best for our restaurants at this time.”
She said that besides Coca-Cola products, Culver’s is keeping its signature root beer, diet root beer, Dr. Pepper, and its sweetened and unsweetened teas. “So, it won’t be a clean switch.”
Demmer wasn’t able to say if all of its Wisconsin restaurants have switched.
“We don’t have a map of which restaurants,” she said. “All I can tell you is that we’re currently switching all restaurants to Coca-Cola, and it will take a while to get all 900 restaurants.”
Culver’s was founded in 1984 in Sauk City by Craig and Lea Culver. Demmer said Culver’s started with Coke and over the years, has served both Coke and Pepsi products.
During the first nine months of 2022, Coca-Cola held about 40% of the United States retail market share by volume, followed by PepsiCo with about 29%, according to Beverage Digest data quoted by CNN.
36 Madison-area restaurant, bar, bakery, coffee shop openings in 2022
Taqueria Los Atlantes
Taqueria Los Atlantes, a spinoff of Los Atlantes Mexican Restaurant & Bakery opened in Verona.
Golden Nest Pancakes & Cafe
Golden Nest Pancakes & Cafe, a second location for a popular Wauwatosa breakfast and lunch spot, opened in Sun Prairie.
Hot Lunch opened in the former Forequarter space on East Johnson Street, which was briefly home to Hone.
Zippy Lube Coffee, Donuts, and Fried Chicken
Zippy Lube Coffee, Donuts, and Fried Chicken, from Benjamin Altschul ("Tip Top Tavern") opened on Madison's North Side.
Tacos El Capi
Tacos El Capi from Paul Hernandez opened on East Washington Avenue in what had been People's Bakery.
Good Co. at Pioneer Pointe
Good Co. at Pioneer Pointe in Verona, from the same group that opened The Ready Set in Oregon.
The Bubbling Teapot
The Bubbling Teapot opened on East Johnson Street where Jade Mountain Cafe was.
Sabores Fusion Grill
Sabores Fusion Grill, a new State Street spot from the former chef at the old Dobhan and Chautara restaurants.
Nori Sushi & Grill
Nori Sushi & Grill opened in Fitchburg selling rolls by the piece.
North Shore Pizza and Subs
North Shore Pizza and Subs opened in the former Rossi's Pizza & Vintage Arcade in Monona.
Sookie's Veggie Burgers
Sookie's Veggie Burgers opened on State Street in what had been Koi Sushi.
Turn Key, from the owners of Settle Down Tavern, opened on East Washington Avenue where Pasqual's used to be.
La Pollera Colombiana Restaurant
La Pollera Colombiana Restaurant. This Colombian restaurant opened on East Washington Avenue in the former OM Indian Fusion Cuisine.
Eno Vino Waunakee
Eno Vino opened in Waunakee, a third Eno Vino restaurant for the upscale Madison-based Cobalt Restaurant Group.
BigSur Cantina opened on Madison's Far West Side in the place of Martin O'Grady's Irish Pub.
Amara, from Rule No. One Hospitality Group, which manages Merchant and Lucille, opened at Hilldale in the former Pasqual's spot.
SASS Sauce + Shells
SASS Sauce + Shells opened on the Capitol Square from the owners of Tutto Pasta on State Street. It's in the former Merci space.
The Borough Beer Company & Kitchen
The Borough Beer Company & Kitchen on Park Street picks up where Rockhound Brewing Company left off.
Taza, a Mediterranean restaurant, opened in Middleton where the original Compadres Mexican restaurant was before it moved.
Swagat Sun Prairie
Swagat: The Indian restaurant on Madison's Far West Side got a Sun Prairie spot.
Little John's Lunchbox
Little John's Lunchbox, a self-serve cafe in the Madison Children's Museum is an introduction to Chef Dave Heide's pay-what-you-can concept.
AzTec Taqueria, a California-style, counter-service restaurant, opened in Verona.
Mishqui Peruvian Cuisine
Mishqui Peruvian Cuisine opened on Monona Drive in the former Rosie's Coffee Bar & Bakery.
Dirty Dog Taphouse
Dirty Dog Taphouse, the area's first self-serve taproom, opened in New Glarus.
Ollie's opened in place of Liliana's Restaurant in Fitchburg. A second restaurant in the divided space is in the works
Forward Craft & Coffee
Forward Craft & Coffee, a beer and coffee shop, opened where Barriques Coffee Roasters and Café was on Atwood Avenue.
Jacknife, a fast-casual sushi spot from the owners of RED, opened on East Washington Avenue.
The Ready Set
The Ready Set opened in the former Charlie's on Main in Oregon. Nate Herndon, Promega's former culinary director, is one of the partners.
FreshFin Poke Hilldale
FreshFin Poke, with five shops in the Milwaukee area and one near the UW-Madison campus, opened a restaurant at Hilldale.
Mom's Bar opened on University Avenue in the old Karaoke Kid.
Prost!, a German-style beer hall opened on East Washington Avenue.
Tucumã, a Brazilian cafe and bakery, opened in Middleton.
Northstreet, a combination of Bloom Bake Shop, Young Blood Beer Company and Cafe Domestique, opened in Madison's Eken Park neighborhood.
La Taguara, which serves Venezuelan cuisine, got a second restaurant, in the former Uno Pizzeria & Grill on Madison's Far East Side.
Far Breton Bakery
Far Breton Bakery opened in a space next to the former New Orleans Take-Out on the Northeast Side and will eventually expand into that space, too.
Dagu Rice Noodle
Dagu Rice Noodle, a small chain, opened at 604 University Ave. after a brief appearance by Yummy Noodle.