When you were a kid, did you ever go to the soda fountain . . . and mix a bunch of flavors together to create a "suicide" . . . swamp water . . . a graveyard . . . sewage . . . a pop bomb . . . or a hurricane? Well . . .
McDonald's will be getting rid of their self-serve drink stations . . . and transitioning to a system where the employees will fill all cups.
They aren't taking away free refills . . . but they do think this system will cut back on theft, AND be a more hygienic option, especially in a post-Covid world.
But the biggest factor is: They're not as necessary. Fewer people are eating inside fast food restaurants . . . and more people are ordering for pick-up through the app, or for delivery through a third-party service. In both of those cases, employees already fill the cups . . . as they do for drive-thru orders.
The change won't happen overnight. In fact, the shift will happen VERY slowly over the next 10 years . . . as the restaurants get updated.