McDonald’s Says Goodbye to Self-Serve

The QSR plans to transition away from self-serve beverages by 2032.

September 12, 2023

McDonald’s announced plans to phase out self-serve soda fountain machines in dining rooms by 2032, reports USA Today. Customers will still receive free refills, but they will have to ask for refills at the counter.

In a statement made to USA Today, the company said, “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 the restaurant.”

According to the State Journal-Register of Illinois, several franchisees have already transitioned away from self-serve machines. The store owners and operators cite factors such as food safety, theft prevention and fewer dine in customers as to reasons for the decision.

McDonald’s franchise owner Brad Davis said that one of his restaurants was chosen as a test location for the new “crew pour” system, according to the State Journal-Register. “It was an adjustment for customers and staff, but we didn’t get too many complaints on it,” Davis said.

A remodeled location in Orange, California, already removed the self-serve beverage station, as reported by Business Insider.

Mikel Petro, who operates 15 McDonald’s in central Illinois with his wife and family, said, “It’s an evolution towards convenience and (the result of) the growth of digital service,” reports the State Journal-Register.

In July, it was reported that McDonald’s earns around 40 percent of its revenue in its largest markets through digital sales. Read more about its digital presence in NACS Daily.

To better understand how creating a food safety culture within your operation helps maintain a safe, clean and trusted environment for your customers, register your team for the NACS Food Safety Forum—the only industry-specific event of its kind for the global convenience retail community.  The NACS Food Safety Forum will take place October 3 from 8:00 am–4:00 pm at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA. The Food Safety Forum is collocated with the 2023 NACS Show in Atlanta.
Please consider sending your colleagues to the NACS Food Safety Forum and register today.