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McDonalds announces new change to US locations

This summer, the Federal Trade Commission sent letters to McDonald's franchisees inquiring about what’s going on with their broken ice cream machines, according to a Wall Street Journal news report. (Dreamstime/TNS)
September 17, 2023

McDonald’s has announced plans to phase out self-service beverage stations in its U.S. locations by the year 2032.

The fast-food giant confirmed the upcoming changes to CBS News on Tuesday, stating that the decision is aimed at creating a uniform experience for customers, whether they are dining in, using the drive-through, or placing orders through the company’s mobile app.

While McDonald’s USA indicated that the company’s decision is intended to make a consistent experience for all of its customers and workers, the company did not elaborate on how this change would impact the brand’s international locations or drink refill policies.

The issue of drink refill policies has been a topic of discussion on social media, where some customers have voiced concerns about longer waiting times for refills. One customer noted on X, “Asked for a refill to go, and it took them more than 5 mins just to refill my drink. If they had them, I could have refilled it myself in less than 30 seconds.”

The loss of customers being able to create hybrid drinks by mixing different sodas also surfaced online. “Say goodbye to hybrid drinks,” lamented one social media user, capturing the sentiment of those who relish crafting their own concoctions at self-serve stations.

READ MORE: Video: Teen mob steals cash register, destroys McDonald’s on Juneteenth

The decision to remove self-service beverage stations is one of many changes McDonald’s has implemented in recent years. The fast-food behemoth introduced an automated restaurant near Fort Worth, Texas, and has revamped its menu to include burgers with “pillowy” buns and even Krispy Kreme donuts at some locations.

Digital sales, including McDonald’s app, delivery, and kiosk purchases, accounted for nearly 40% of McDonald’s systemwide sales in the second quarter of 2023, with revenue soaring to about $6.5 billion—a 14% increase, according to a McDonald’s press release.

“The McDonald’s brand has never been stronger, and I remain inspired by the ability of the McDonald’s System to create cultural conversations and develop industry-leading innovations,” McDonald’s President and CEO Chris Kempczinski said. “While global macroeconomic challenges persist, we continue to invest in our growth drivers and our brand to meet the customer needs of tomorrow.”

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.