The Fast Food Industry as a whole generated a whopping $278.6 billion in revenue in 2021, and a lot of that can be contributed to companies following the basic principles of great food service: maintaining ingredient quality, getting orders right, and preparing meals that are tasty and distinct to a company’s branding. Sure there’s a lot of clever marketing that reels customers in, but if your fare isn’t tasty and patrons can’t expect more or less the same experience every time they visit one of your franchises, then you’re probably not going to establish a devoted group of folks willing to throw money your way.
But all of these factors are also enhanced by technological advancements that help businesses stay ahead of the curve. A slew of innovations are constantly being devised/tested in order to keep folks coming back for more, while increasing profits. Sometimes, these advancements don’t even necessarily pertain to enhancing a food’s flavor.
One example is the new take-out drink lid system McDonald’s is apparently trying out at some of its franchises, as evidenced by a now viral TikTok video. Take a gander for yourself.
@olli3_02 No more spilt delivery drinks 🙏🏻 #mcdonalds #mcdonaldsworker #mcdonaldsuk #mcdonaldsworkers #maccies #macciesworker ♬ original sound – Ollie
In the clip, uploaded by a creator who goes by Ollie (@oll3_02), we see someone take an uncovered drink placed in a machine designed to hold a single cup. Once the cup is inserted, the machine retrieves it, whirs a little bit, and then ejects the beverage—it’s now covered by a single film of plastic on top, sealing the carbonated goodness inside.
This kind of “drink enclosure” system is typically seen in many bubble tea shops. Judging from Ollie’s caption, which reads, “No more spilt delivery drinks,” it appears that the traditional lids aren’t going anywhere. He further explained the machine’s function in the comments section of the post.
“Just to clear up a few things, the machine has been put in our store as a trial and is for delivery only,” he says. “It looks slow but we have an automatic drinks machine so don’t spend time anymore making the fizzy drinks as a machine makes them for us.”
The “automatic drinks machine” that Ollie is referring to is an impressive piece of tech if you haven’t seen it before. That, in combination with the special lid contraption makes for a pretty much hands-free beverage consumption experience, which, after the COVID-19 pandemic, is probably a relief for many customers.
There were some commenters who expressed their excitement at the plastic film applying machine.
“As a delivery rider, this is HUGE, no other drinks spill apart from mcdonalds,” one viewer wrote.
“Wait that’s actually huge, drinks was always what slowed down orders when I worked there,” a former employee said.
Others, however, thought that the lid machine would ultimately slow down orders and eventually run into a litany of issues, sort of like how Mickey D’s ice cream machines are almost always out of order.
“‘Can I have a coke please’ ‘can’t love the lid machine ain’t working,’” one user joked.
“Bro I know how slow that automatic drinks machine is don’t lie,” another said.
And then there were some who were concerned about the ecological impact of the plastic film.
“Ah yes, replacing recyclable lids with unrecyclable plastic film,” one commenter argued.
According to Earth 911, “Plastic wrap and film packaging are generally #2 and #4 plastic, both of which are recyclable. It is often recycled into composite lumber, but it can become a wide variety of products. Unless your local recycling service tells you otherwise, plastic wrap and film must be taken to a drop-off location for recycling.”
McDonald’s lids are also not considered recyclable, according to QuerySprout.
However, the plastic film, along with all recyclable items, needs to be clean and free of any residue—a requirement that may be difficult to meet if the film is attached to the cup.
There’s no word yet as to whether or not lid closing machines will become a staple of McDonald’s, but with the rise in popularity of food delivery apps, more and more take-out orders are coming from the franchise’s locations every day.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Ollie on TikTok for further comment on the machine.
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