Robot employees, food conveyor belts, and data-driven meal choices with decision logic technology; things are evolving fast at McDonald's. Some developments are brought on by advancing technology while others are a result of ever-changing consumer behavior. Now, the fast food chain is about to discontinue something else that will break many hearts -- the self-service soda machines will slowly be scrapped, just like the Play Place. No more getting creative with your soda combinations!
In the next 10 years or so, McDonald's soda stations will be completely scrapped from its U.S. locations (per USA Today). The good news is that customers will still be able to get refills, but they will have to ask the servers to provide them. Instead of being handed an empty cup, you'll be handed the soda of your choice. According to the company, the decision was brought on by its commitment to maintaining consistency in customer as well as staff experience throughout all locations. If everything goes according to plan, your experience across drive-thru locations, kiosks, restaurants, and McDelivery will be exactly the same.
Since the pandemic, the number of customers dining inside McDonald's has decreased. McDonald's has a lowered need for soda machines since more and more customers are switching to delivery apps and prefer drive-thrus over dining in restaurants.
There Are Some Merits To The Idea
Yes, it can be a chore to ask for multiple refills at the counter, but there are some perks to the no self-refill situation. When The State Journal-Register of Illinois interviewed some franchise owners, they shared how food safety and theft-prevention were some of the key factors that led to the scrapping of self-service soda machines. Some locations have already had their soda fountains removed and adopted the crew pour system. The new system minimizes human contact between customers and prevents theft, which leads to a more relaxed dine-in experience.
After the news broke, netizens took to social media to share their views on McDonald's decision. Some wonder if it's a start to a "no free refills" era. "I can't wait to get a massive attitude for asking for a refill. And how do you even do that if it's one of the ones where you order everything at the kiosk and then they put it on the counter?" one Redditor questioned. In any case, the change will take some time to take effect, so get creative with your soda combinations while you still can.
Read the original article on Mashed.