Why is McDonald's discontinuing its free drink refills policy? Deets inside

Fast food chain, McDonald's is reportedly going to discontinue its free drink refills policy by 2032.

Published on May 17, 2024  |  04:20 PM IST |  80.5K
Image courtesy: McDonald's
Image courtesy: McDonald's
Key Highlight
  • McDonald’s customers are bidding a bitter farewell to free drink refill
  • McDonald’s installed the self-serve fountains in 2004

Customers are beginning to notice that McDonald's is gradually getting rid of its self-serve drink machines, just a few months after the fast food chain announced its plan. The beloved perk of free drink refills at Mickey D's is now being phased out.

McDonald's to phase out self-serve station completely by 2032

The company intends to completely phase out self-serve soda fountains by 2032, meaning that customers will no longer be able to help themselves. The last twenty years of normalcy are gradually coming to an end.

Self-serve machines at the local McDonald's in Pittsburgh have been discontinued, a consumer recently informed Marketplace. The Pennsylvania location is now charging customers for drink refills, the customer continued.

When did McDonald's introduce the self-service refill station

In 2004, the huge fast-food chain debuted its self-serve drink machines, which let customers get as many drinks as they wanted. But as fewer consumers choose dine-in over takeout or home delivery, McDonald's seems to be moving away from the self-service concept. According to reports, the company was said to be getting rid of the soda fountains last year.

Nevertheless, a McDonald's official informed Business Insider that it would be at the discretion of individual restaurant owners/operators to charge customers for drink refills. Marketplace claims that during the COVID-19 pandemic, customers at the Wegmans and Panera Bread McDonald's locations noted that the soda fountains were missing.


Recent reports state that many customers who were charged for drink refills also expressed their frustrations on social media. McDonald's plans to launch its largest burger to date along with a new $5 value meal, but angry consumers are still having trouble accepting the news that free refills and self-serve drink stations will no longer be available.

Although this news may come as a disappointment to McDonald's customers, analysts predict that other fast-food restaurants will follow the same.

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A content writer with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Media and two years of experience in Content Writing.



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