Customer blasts hometown store for suddenly ditching free drink refills.

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‘I hope this reaches McDonald’s’: Customer blasts hometown Micky D’s for no free drink refills. What’s happening?

‘Sodas are so cheap to the restaurant. Pennies. Just give the refills.’

 

Ljeonida Mulabazi

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For many Americans, fast food and free soda refills go hand in hand. However, recent policy changes at some fast food locations are testing the limits of this long-standing expectation.

According to TikTok user Grace Lovely (@got2bmenow), who says she is a loyal McDonald’s customer, she was recently charged to refill her drink—something she claims was a first across her many visits to the chain.

After finishing her large Diet Coke, Lovely recalls that she went up to the counter to ask for a refill. Upon hearing her request, a server told her that she’d have to pay full price for another drink.

“I looked at her and I said, ‘I’m sorry. Are you kidding me? We’re at McDonald’s!’,” Lovely states. 

Frustrated with this experience, Lovely left a complaint on the McDonald’s app.

A few days later, she was contacted by an assistant manager from the location, who informed her that this was indeed their policy. Still, she was offered a complimentary drink for her negative experience. 

Lovely refused the free drink and decided to probe a little further to find out what was going on.

“I said, ‘Let me ask you something. Is this a McDonald’s corporate policy or just a store policy?’” she says.

According to Lovely, the assistant manager responded, “’I think it’s just here that the general manager implemented [this policy].’”

The free drink that the store offered, Lovely says, would do nothing to solve the larger problem.

“This isn’t really about getting a free drink. This is about the fact that McDonald’s in the past six months has increased the price of their sodas from $1 to $1.50,” Lovely shares. “And now [the general manager] is gonna implement her own personal thing that she’s not giving free refills anymore?”

After informing the assistant manager she wouldn’t be returning to that location, she expressed how important free refills are for her.

“Part of the reason I’ve always gone there is because I can get a refill,” Grace concludes. “Get it together, McDonald’s.”

So is McDonald’s doing away with free refills?

Kind of. It told Business Insider that it plans to phase-out self-serve soda stations by 2032 and that it’s encouraging customers to ask at the counter for a refill, where many will get an automated refill from a new type of soda machine.

McDonald’s franchisees have significant autonomy over how their restaurant operates. For example, some customers have reported that their local McDonald’s charges for certain items like sauces or bags.

Curiously, free refills appear to make a negligible impact on a restaurant’s bottom line.

Research published by MDPI suggests that factors such as labor, overhead expenses, and product make up the bulk of expenses for a restaurant. Drinks—even free refills—represent only a small portion of profit margins. 

@got2bmenow @McDonald’s ♬ original sound – got2bmenow💗

Lovely’s video garnered more than 1,000 comments, with most users claiming they never even knew free refills were available at McDonald’s. 

“I have been going to McDonald’s for years and never, ever have gotten free refills,” claimed one user. “I have never heard of free refills. I think you were just helping yourself!! Get real!”. 

“All the soda machines are going away, no more free refills,” stated another.

“Sodas are so cheap to the restaurant. Pennies. Just give the refills,” implored a third. 

We have reached out to McDonald’s and Grace Lovely via email for comment. 

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The Daily Dot