McDonald's is set to discontinue one of its most notable features. The popular fast-food franchise has announced plans to phase out its self-serve soda machines at its U.S. establishments by the year 2032. The rationale behind this decision is to ensure a consistent experience for both customers and staff throughout the entire chain.
Traditionally, McDonald's allowed people to independently fill and refill their beverage cups within the dining area. However, shifts in consumer behavior, particularly in response to the pandemic, have transformed the way people interact with the brand. The company has witnessed a notable uptick in business through drive-thru and delivery services, leading to a decrease in the number of customers opting to dine in, and consequently, a diminished demand for the self-serve soda machines.
McDonald's is planning future restaurant designs that feature smaller or no dining areas but incorporate advanced drive-thru technologies. Upcoming significant change known as "CosMc's," no further details have been released. This shift aligns with the fact that digital sales, encompassing orders placed via the mobile app and through partners such as Uber, now make-up a substantial 40% of the company's total sales, as reported in its latest earnings statement.
McDonald's is not alone in reimagining its restaurant designs, as other major chains, including Chipotle, Taco Bell, and Starbucks, are also exploring innovative approaches to their physical layouts.