McDonald’s is set to bid farewell to self-service soda machines at its U.S. restaurants by 2032, as confirmed by the Chicago-based fast-food chain. It remains uncertain whether locations outside the U.S. will adopt a similar approach.
In an email statement to The Associated Press, McDonald’s USA explained that the primary objective of this change is to establish uniformity for both customers and crew members across all aspects of the chain’s services, spanning from in-person dining to online delivery and drive-thru options. However, the company did not specify if other factors, such as financial considerations or sanitation concerns, influenced the decision to phase out self-service machines. For many years, McDonald’s patrons have used these machines to fill and refill their beverages conveniently without the need to visit a cashier.
Several other fast-food chains already employ behind-the-counter soda machines, and some McDonald’s locations across the U.S. have already begun transitioning to this setup.
Analysts have also observed shifts in consumer behavior since the COVID-19 pandemic, including increased digital and online delivery sales among fast-food establishments.