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8 Things You Won’t Find In McDonald’s Anymore

The McDonald's you see next might not be the McDonald's you remember.

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In the wake of stay-at-home orders, life as we know it is changing in unprecedented ways. One aspect of the world that may never return to normal is the foodservice industry and food sector.

During recent months, the want for quick, convenient food was higher than ever. Throughout it all, McDonald’s managed to keep 99 percent of its 14,000 locations open for drive-through and delivery options. Even so, during the period from January to March, the corporation’s sales fell six percent. And even as late as early May, some restaurants remained closed for dine-in options.

On the bright side, many McDonald’s locations are now opening for dine-in services. In order to open, each franchise location had to undergo a series of cleaning practices, protocol changes and service adjustments to keep both customers and employees healthy. McDonald’s will certainly look a little different when you stop in for your next fast-food fix! By the way, these are the things McDonald’s employees won’t tell you.

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McDonald's employee handing take-out order through a screenREMKO DE WAAL/GETTY IMAGES

Visible Smiles

In the 59-page dine-in guide McDonald’s released earlier this month, it was outlined that all employees are now required to wear gloves and masks. While this may not seem surprising, it does alter the typical business model of “service with a smile.” It’s difficult to gauge attitude when you can’t see the facial expressions of your server or customer. Further, many of the franchises will need to make face shields available to adhere to state-by-state legislative and health requirements.

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Using a self-serve soda fountainMARIO TAMA/GETTY IMAGES

Self-Serve Soda Fountains

The self-service drinking fountains that we’ve all come to expect from McDonald’s and other fast food chains will become a thing of the past. McDonald’s has pledged to shut-down, section-off or staff the soda fountains to cut down on high-volume, often-touched areas.

Also, each “refill” will likely now require a new cup. These changes mean that you won’t be able to concoct crazy soda combinations to your heart’s content anymore. By the way, here’s why Coke tastes so much better at McDonald’s.

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Girl picking up an order inside a McDonald's restaurantJEFF GREENBERG/GETTY IMAGES

Counter Pick-Up

You might be used to hearing your order number called and picking up your tray at the counter. Unfortunately, you can kiss that all goodbye. Instead, your order will be brought to you on a tray. The classic fries and burgers will all be served double-bagged. Even napkins and pre-wrapped straws that are usually self-service at nearby dispensers will be delivered. This business model is much closer to that of a sit-down restaurant with table service.

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For a moment, it seemed that touchscreens would be the way of the future. Tons of restaurants and businesses were implementing them at counters and kiosks to streamline the ordering and paying process. Now, McDonald’s has required that if they are used, they must be wiped down between every single customer. If your nearby McDonald’s franchise decides to still use them, the cleanliness requirements will severely cut their efficiency and usefulness (which might lead to many being retired altogether).

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Employees with masks standing together behind the counterSOPA IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

Close Quarters

While you might remember long lines of hungry customers in the store, you won’t see the same crowding and bunching anymore. When the stores do open, there will be six feet between you and the next customer eagerly waiting to order your meal. McDonald’s is implementing mandatory spacing stickers on the tile floors to help maintain the distancing recommendation of six feet.

There will still be friendly employees behind kiosks, but they will now be behind a barrier of plastic or plexiglass for protection. You’ll also see contactless payment options to decrease the number of high-touch surfaces. These changes won’t just be affecting the fast-food giant—here’s how dining out might change.

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McDonald's with a play areaJEFF GREENBERG/GETTY IMAGES

Play Areas

Play areas will remain closed even when the dining rooms reopen. There seems to be no feasible way to maintain proper social distancing and sanitation on and within the play structures or the “interactive games and tables.” Sorry, kids! Here’s why PlayPlaces have seemed to be vanishing even before COVID-19.

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All-Day Breakfast

For the time being, McDonald’s is operating on a limited menu to simplify cooking and preparation processes. In addition to all-day breakfast, other items will be temporarily removed, including chicken selects, salads and grilled chicken sandwiches. While it’s unclear if some of these items will return soon or at all, here’s to hoping that these bestselling McDonald’s items won’t ever be leaving the menu.

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Bathroom Door Handles

In addition to daily employee wellness and temperature checks, McDonald’s will also increase the frequency of sanitation for common spaces. Many tables will be blocked off to lessen the number of potential dine-in guests. Also, employees will maintain signage to signal which tables are freshly cleaned. If some of these measures seem extreme, take a peek at these things restaurants aren’t cleaning as they should.

Some of these new recommendations are aimed at communal restrooms as it’s a high-volume, touch-heavy space. In its report, McDonald’s recommended a number of new (and expensive) purchases to update restroom spaces. These include adding foot-pulls for door openings, switching from blow dryers to automatic towel dispensers, and installing other hands-free gadgets.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest

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