Why McDonald's Is Getting Rid Of All Its Self-Serve Soda Machines

McDonald's self-serve soda machine
McDonald's self-serve soda machine - Eric Broder Van Dyke/Shutterstock

Why does an ice-cold Coke from McDonald's taste so much better? Perhaps it's the extra care the company takes in keeping the drink cold, the extra-large straws, or maybe it's the unlimited free refills. If the latter is what makes your McDonald's experience special, you might be disappointed to learn that McDonald's plans to remove all of its self-serve beverage stations in the next nine years. According to an announcement shared by multiple news outlets, the company aims to complete this change across all U.S. restaurants by 2032.

"This change is intended to create a consistent experience for both customers and crew across all ordering points, whether that's McDelivery, the app, kiosk, drive-thru, or in-restaurant," McDonald's explained in a statement made to USA Today.

However, some franchisees interviewed by the State Journal-Register, which first reported on the change, cited other issues such as soda theft by individuals with personal cups, concerns about food safety and cleanliness, and the influx of digital orders. Although some beverage stations are still in operation, they will eventually be replaced by the "crew pour system," which will automatically dispense beverages.

Read more: Things McDonald's Employees Really Want You To Be Aware Of

What Customers Think Of The New System

McDonald's beverage cup
McDonald's beverage cup - 8th.creator/Shutterstock

While this change was recently announced, most frequent McDonald's customers aren't likely to be surprised. Many new stores have already been built without the traditional fountains, as noted in comments on Reddit. One user said, "2 out of the 3 McDonald's in my town have already gotten rid of them with their interior remodel during COVID." Another user shared their firsthand experience with soda theft, saying, "I've seen so many people just walk in and fill their water bottles or metal flasks, then walk out. Or they'll come in to plug in their phones, fill up a soda, then take up a seat someone who paid for their food could have been using."

Despite these changes, free refills are expected to remain available over the counter. An Illinois-based franchise owner noted to the New York Post, "Free refills are a big draw for people ... I don't see anything taking that away." So, you'll likely still be able to enjoy that ice-cold Coke repeatedly; you'll just need to interact with a real person to do so.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.