The fast-food chain has announced that it will remove its self-serve soda machines from its US restaurants by 2032. The company states that this change is aimed at ensuring a consistent experience for both customers and staff throughout the entire chain.
For many years, McDonald’s allowed customers to fill their own drinks in its dining rooms, even offering refills. However, consumer behavior has evolved since the pandemic, resulting in a significant increase in business through drive-thru and delivery services. As a result, fewer people opt to dine in the restaurants, reducing the necessity for these machines.
McDonald’s future plans include restaurant designs with smaller or no dining areas, featuring high-tech drive-thrus, to align with this new reality. According to its most recent earnings report, digital sales, such as orders made through its app or via partners like Uber, now constitute 40% of its total sales.
Additionally, the chain has hinted at another major change called “CosMc’s,” which is a new small-format location with a reduced dining area. CEO Chris Kempczinski mentioned in June that there are areas in the US where they are significantly underdeveloped in relation to the current population, presenting numerous development opportunities.
In the past, eliminating dining rooms was considered “off-limits,” but customer habits have shifted dramatically since the peak of the pandemic. McDonald’s has not provided further details about the “CosMc” concept.
Other chains, such as Chipotle, Taco Bell, and Starbucks, are also exploring redesigning their establishments in response to changing consumer preferences.