The days of filling and refilling your own soft drinks at McDonald’s may be over.
According to McDonald’s USA, it is phasing out soda fountains in its American dining rooms between now and 2032.
“McDonald’s will move away from self-serve beverage stations in dining rooms across the U.S. by 2032,” the company said. “The change is intended to create a consistent experience for both customers and crew across all ordering points, whether it’s McDelivery, app, kiosk, drive-thru or in-restaurant.”
McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski said in July that while McDonald’s primary focus will remain on traditional units, the company will continue to test new concepts, such as a takeout-only location in Texas that opened last year.
Using the takeout-only method allows McDonald’s to open locations that could not open previously, given the space required for a dining room.
“A big reason we can look at them now is the growth that’s happened with digital and delivery, where you don’t need the big dining rooms that you need in our traditional restaurants,” Kempczinski said. ” “So now you’re able to see real estate sites that used to be off limits to us become opportunities. So we’re taking all of those things together and putting a perspective on what we’re doing “We are pushing it forward to achieve that. Think the capacity of the new unit will be there in the next four or five years.”
Other fast food restaurants such as Burger King and Wendy’s also have self-service soda fountains. Those companies have not said whether they are also considering similar considerations.
Chick-fil-A is one of the small number of fast-food restaurants that mostly do not have self-service beverage machines. Instead, employees provide free refills to customers upon request.
Soda fountains also require extensive daily cleaning. According to Coca-Cola, Machines should be washed with sanitizing solution on a daily basis, including removing nozzles and diffusers. There are also more extensive weekly and monthly cleaning protocols for machines.