Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
McDonald’s is officially phasing out its self-serve soda stations, and they’ve explained why.
Yup, Maccies US is moving away from the soda machines, which many diners in the States see as an integral part of their experience.
Customers were typically given an empty cup and had free reign to fill their own drink up, and add as much ice as they liked.
But now, McDonald’s has announced a transition away from self-service.
The move is gonna be a gradual one – a very gradual one, in fact.
All McDonald’s branches in the US are meant to be rid of self-service drink stations by 2032, so if you’re a fan, you don’t need to worry about it just yet.
However, there are some franchises which are already shunning the machines and training up their staff to go without.
The move is intended to create consistency for workers and customers at all Maccies branches, meaning you’ll get the exact same drink whether you’re ordering in store or via McDelivery.
“It’s an evolution towards convenience and (the result of) the growth of digital service,” Mikel Petro, an Illinois McDonald’s operator, said to the State Journal-Register.
Other reasons for the transition include theft prevention, food safety measures and of course the smaller number of dine-in customers branches are facing in this day and age, with delivery platforms growing.
“The crew pour system — which actually will use automated beverage systems to mechanically fill drink orders — minimizes human contact,” reported the State-Journal.
“Crew pour also eliminates theft and emphasises the brand’s new focus on creating a more relaxed dine-in experience complete with servers delivering meals to the table.”
Despite the change, Maccies franchisees have insisted they still foresee drink refills being free, according to the New York Post.
In the UK, self-serve machines aren’t the norm, so this news is only for our US readers.
But in the US, the transition is a big shift, and is said to be the first step in a move to an automated system that serves drinks without the need for any customers to touch a button (or do anything!).
McDonald’s have been looking for ways to make their restaurants more automated for a while now, even trialling replacing staff with robots in select stores.
You can read more about that here.
Featured image: Getty