27.9 C
New York
Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Buy now

McDonald’s Phasing Out Self-Serve Soda Fountains: Big Changes Ahead

McDonald’s to Phase Out Self-Serve Soda Fountains: What You Need to Know

In a bid to modernize and adapt to changing consumer habits, McDonald’s is set to bid farewell to its iconic self-serve soda fountains over the next decade. The decision, driven by franchise owners, comes as they cite concerns over hygiene, theft, and evolving dining preferences. However, they want to assure loyal patrons that free refills will remain a staple, even after the machines are phased out by 2032.

For many, the self-serve soda fountain has been a quintessential part of the McDonald’s experience, offering customers the freedom to refill their drinks at will. But times are changing, and the fast-food giant aims to keep up.

“Free refills are a big draw for people,” says Kim Derringer, who manages three McDonald’s franchises in Springfield, Illinois. “I don’t see anything taking that away.”

To ease the transition, several Illinois-based franchise owners have already begun taking steps to do away with self-serve soda fountains. Crew members at these locations now fill customers’ orders by delivering the meal and soft drink directly to their dining tables.

Brad Davis, a franchise owner in Springfield, Illinois, revealed that his restaurant stopped providing empty cups at the start of the year. His location was selected by corporate headquarters as a test case for this new approach.

“It was an adjustment for customers and staff,” Davis admits. “But we didn’t get too many complaints on it.”

While no firm timeline has been set, Davis plans to implement the same changes across his other five Springfield franchises.

In Lincoln, Illinois, another McDonald’s location has opted for a hybrid model. Staff bring customers their food and drink, but the self-serve fountain remains functional, allowing take-out patrons to fill their cups as usual.

Mikel Petro, who owns 15 McDonald’s franchises in central Illinois, including the Lincoln location, has plans to renovate his restaurant next summer. He intends to install power and plumbing for a new behind-the-counter soda machine, replacing the current fountain accessible to customers in the dining area.

Petro describes this shift as “an evolution towards convenience” influenced by the growth of digital service. It reflects McDonald’s commitment to minimizing human contact, which has been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ultimately, McDonald’s plans to transition to an automated beverage system that requires no customer interaction. This “crew pour” system is set to enhance personal hygiene, prevent theft, and provide a restaurant-like experience by having staff deliver both food and drinks.

Changing consumer habits are reshaping the fast-food landscape. McDonald’s customers are increasingly turning to the app for delivery, drive-thru, or pick-up options rather than dining in. This shift has prompted the company to reevaluate how it utilizes physical space within its restaurants.

Interestingly, self-serve soda fountains made their debut at McDonald’s in 2004, marking an era that will soon come to an end.

McDonald’s is taking a bold step towards modernization, ensuring its services align with the digital age and changing customer preferences. While the self-serve soda fountain may soon be a thing of the past, the promise of free refills will continue to be a cherished part of the McDonald’s experience.

Join MultiMediaMouth+ for $3 a month

Support MultiMediaMouth.com now! For just $3/month, you will get ad-free access to select articles, Podcasts, and livestream events! Join today and support small creators!

Ruben Jay
Ruben Jay
Ruben Jay is an American broadcaster, media blogger, and podcast host. Currently, Ruben is the President of MultiMediaMouth.com and the executive producer and host of the popular podcasts You’re My Best Friend and ON AIR with Ruben Jay, exclusively on MultiMediaMouth.com. Follow Ruben on Instagram, Twitter, and Tiktok @TheRubenJay.

Related Articles

Latest Articles