McDonald’s Revamps Beverage Service: Self-Serve Soda Stations to Disappear by 2032

McDonald’s to Eliminate Self-Serve Soda Stations

McDonald’s, a fast-food giant, is undergoing a significant change in its beverage service. The company has decided to phase out self-serve soda stations, a long-standing tradition in its dining rooms. Here’s why they are making this change:

A Transition in Progress

McDonald’s has confirmed that it will gradually eliminate self-serve beverage stations in its dining rooms across the United States by the year 2032. This transition is part of an effort to create a consistent experience for both customers and employees, regardless of how they place their orders.

Consistency Across All Ordering Points

Whether you order a Big Mac Meal through McDelivery, the app, a kiosk, the drive-thru, or in-restaurant, the goal is to ensure that your experience remains the same. This means no more self-serve beverage stations where you fill your cup with ice and soda; instead, the company aims to streamline the process.

The Evolution Towards Convenience

Mikel Petro, an Illinois McDonald’s operator, sees this shift as an evolution towards convenience, driven by the growth of digital service. Some locations have already begun changing the way sodas are served to customers. For instance, in one of Petro’s McDonald’s locations, staff now fill initial beverage orders when customers dine in, delivering these drinks to tables along with meals.

Reasons Behind the Change

Several factors contribute to this transformation. Theft prevention, food safety, and a decline in dine-in customers have led to the decision to get rid of self-serve stations. The crew pour system, which uses automated beverage systems to fill drink orders, minimizes human contact, eliminates theft, and enhances the dine-in experience.

McDonald's Revamps Beverage Service: Self-Serve Soda Stations to Disappear by 2032

Phased Implementation

While McDonald’s plans to fully transition to staff-poured sodas by 2032, some locations are already in the process of implementing these changes. By 2024, McDonald’s will move plumbing behind the counter in some stores, allowing for the permanent removal of self-serve drink stations.

Time to Enjoy the Self-Serve Experience

For now, customers still have some time to enjoy the self-serve experience, experimenting with their soda combinations. However, in the coming years, they will need to rely on staff for their beverage orders. The change aims to align with the brand’s evolving focus on convenience, safety, and consistency.


McDonald’s decision to phase out self-serve soda stations marks a significant shift in the company’s approach to beverage service. While the change will take several years to fully implement, it reflects the brand’s commitment to creating a consistent experience for customers and employees across all ordering points.

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