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McDonald’s is phasing out self-serve soda machines at its U.S. restaurants by 2032. The company said the move is intended to create a “consistent experience” for customers and crew members across all ordering points, whether that’s through the drive-thru, McDelivery, or the restaurant’s app.
Self-serve soda machines have been a staple of McDonald’s restaurants for decades. Customers could fill their own cups with the classic Mickey D’s Sprite, water, or other beverages.
However, the company said that the machines have become a liability, as they can be a source of foodborne illness and theft.
In addition, the company said that the self-serve machines are not as efficient as other ordering methods. Customers who order soda through the drive-thru or the app can get their drinks faster and more accurately.
McDonald’s said that it will start phasing out the self-serve machines in 2023. By 2032, all U.S. restaurants will have switched to a system where crew members fill customers’ cups with soda.
Self-serve change will affect about 14,000 restaurants in the U.S.
It is unclear if McDonald’s will phase out self-serve soda machines in other countries.
McDonald’s is not the only restaurant chain that is making this change. Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have also announced plans to phase out self-serve soda machines.
The decision to phase out self-serve soda machines is a sign of the changing times. As more and more people order food and drinks through digital channels, restaurants are finding that they need to adapt their operations.
Why does McDonald’s Sprite hit so hard?
McDonald’s Sprite tastes better than canned soda because the company reportedly adds more citrusy syrup to the mix.
A McDonald’s insider told Mashed that they do this because it: “results in a sweeter and stronger version of the drink than can be had at other fast-food restaurants or that is found in cans and bottles.”
Additionally, McDonald’s also uses water that is already cold (which is better for carbonation) and which is filtered to bottle-quality water, which affects the taste.
Finally, McDonald’s also boasts slightly wider than average straws, which they claim allows the flavor to spread across the tongue better, getting that citrusy goodness straight to your taste buds.