For decades, McDonald’s has allowed its customers to refill (and refill) their own drinks in its dining rooms.
ByJordan Valinsky, CNNWire
Tuesday September 12, 2023 3:26 p.m.
NEW YORK — McDonald’s is getting rid of one of its biggest perks.
The fast-food chain will eliminate its self-serve soda machines by 2032 at its U.S. restaurants, the company announced, explaining that the change will make the experience consistent for customers and crew throughout the chain .
For decades, McDonald’s has allowed its customers to refill (and refill) their own drinks in its dining rooms. However, consumer behavior has changed since the pandemic and the chain has seen a surge in business through its drive-thru and delivery services, with fewer people choosing to eat in its dining rooms, reducing the need machines.
McDonald’s future includes restaurant designs with smaller or no dining rooms (and a high-tech drive-thru) to reflect this new reality. Digital sales (i.e. orders placed on its app or through its partners like Uber) now represent 40% of its total sales, according to its latest earnings report.
The chain also recently announced another major change, called “CosMc’s,” a new small-format location featuring a scaled-down dining room.
“There are a number of places in the United States where we are significantly underdeveloped relative to the current population,” CEO Chris Kempczinski told analysts in June. “This opens up a whole bunch of development opportunities for us to exploit.”
In the past, abandoning dining rooms was a “no go,” but customer habits have changed so much since the height of the pandemic. McDonald’s did not disclose further details about the “CosMc” concept.
Other chains are also trying to reinvent their models, including Chipotle, Taco Bell and Starbucks.
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