Say goodbye to self-serve drink machines, McDonald’s fans.
The fast-food chain plans to get rid of self-service “beverage stations” at its U.S. locations by 2032, McDonald’s confirmed to CBS News on Tuesday. A spokesperson did not say how the change would impact international locations.
McDonald’s USA said the company is making the change so that customer and worker experiences will be consistent across all ordering points, from dining in person to visiting a drive-through or ordering via the company’s app.
McDonald’s USA did not say how the removals would impact drink refills. Franchise locations until now have had control over refill policies, the company previously shared on social media. CBS News has reached out to McDonald’s for additional details.
Some locations have already removed their self-serve soda machines, customers pointed out on social media. One person on X, the platform previously known as Twitter, said the change happened at their regular McDonald’s location not long ago. The customer said they asked an employee for a refill and it took more than five minutes to get the the drink.
“If they had them I could have refilled it myself in less then [sic] 30 seconds,” the person wrote.
Some on social media wondered how they’d be able to create unique beverages by mixing different sodas, with one user posting, “say goodbye to hybrid drinks.”
McDonald’s has rolled out several other changes in recent years, including the opening of an automated restaurant near Fort Worth, Texas. The chain has also introducedrevamped burgers with “pillowy” buns and started selling Krispy Kreme donuts at some locations.
In late July, McDonald’s said digital sales, comprised of app, delivery and kiosk purchases, accounted for nearly 40% of systemwide sales for the second quarter of 2023. Revenue rose 14% to about $6.5 billion for the quarter.
“The McDonald’s brand has never been stronger,” McDonald’s President and CEO Chris Kempczinski said at the time.