McDonald's Free Refills, Self-Service Drinks Disappearing

Fast food prices have risen like all restaurant prices, and now one of QSR's mainstays -- self-service drinks with free refills -- is beginning to disappear. 

“Although McDonald's has plans to introduce a new $5 value meal and its biggest burger ever, frustrated fans are still struggling with the news of the self-serve drink stations and free refills being taken away,” according to Delish. “For one person on social media, the latest from McDonald's is practically apocalyptic. 'If you were looking for a clear sign of the Apocalypse... here you go,’ they wrote in a message posted on X. Sounds a little extreme, but we get it.”



Individual restaurants do have some discretion.  A spokesperson told Business Insider that over-the-counter refills would be “at the discretion of individual restaurant owner/operators.”

More fast-food chains may follow the behemoth’s lead. 

“McDonald’s tends to be a leader in the industry. And very often, when they make big changes, other restaurants follow suit. McDonald’s is very smart about their costs,” Darren Tristano, CEO of consulting firm FoodserviceResults, tells theNew York Post. “Panera Bread customers and even those at the grocery store Wegmans have also observed a vanishing of self-serve soda machines, according to Marketplace.”

The fast-food giant first introduced the self-serve drink machines in 2004, allowing customers to have unlimited beverages of their choice. 

“However, McDonald's appears to be distancing itself from the self-service idea as fewer customers prefer dine-in, in contrast to home deliveries or takeaways,” according to Hindustan Times

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