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View Full Version : Food and Drink Fast food restaurants dilluting soda?


aturnis
08-15-2011, 08:28 PM
So it seems like for the last year or so, every time I go to a fast food drive thru, my soda tastes less and less like what I ordered.

At first, I was called crazy when I mentioned it to family/friends/co-workers. Then finally, after it what seems like the next "kickback" in syrup, a few of them reluctantly agreed with me.

It seems like they are trying to stretch a bag of syrup for all it is worth. Is the economy that bad to where I can't get a decent soda anymore? Do they REALLY need to squeeze one or two more drinks out of that bag?

I have since been forced to switch my preferred fast food beverage to teas, hi-c's or whatever else they couldn't possibly screw up.

So has anyone else noticed this tightening of the fast food industries belt?

Demonpenz
08-15-2011, 08:30 PM
Mcdonalds always makes sure their coke machines are working well, They have 2 brand names to make sure they keep their word and make sure you are dead by 40

Hog Farmer
08-15-2011, 08:31 PM
Does it taste like boar semen because my business has really been expanding and I have no idea why these fast food chains would be placing orders.

Baby Lee
08-15-2011, 08:31 PM
So it seems like for the last year or so, every time I go to a fast food drive thru, my soda tastes less and less like what I ordered.

At first, I was called crazy when I mentioned it to family/friends/co-workers. Then finally, after it what seems like the next "kickback" in syrup, a few of them reluctantly agreed with me.

It seems like they are trying to stretch a bag of syrup for all it is worth. Is the economy that bad to where I can't get a decent soda anymore? Do they REALLY need to squeeze one or two more drinks out of that bag?

I have since been forced to switch my preferred fast food beverage to teas, hi-c's or whatever else they couldn't possibly screw up.

So has anyone else noticed this tightening of the fast food industries belt?

Soda prices have spiked more than anything I've seen outside deli meats.

Coca Cola cites commodity and distribution cost spikes.

DaFace
08-15-2011, 08:36 PM
I'd be pretty skeptical, though I don't really have any idea. Fast food sodas cost almost nothing. It seems to me there are far more effective ways of saving a few pennies.

(And I personally haven't noticed the phenomenon, myself.)

Deberg_1990
08-15-2011, 08:37 PM
Taco Bell fan, what's in the mystery meat?

listopencil
08-15-2011, 08:38 PM
They shouldn't. Soda at a fast food place has the highest profit margin of anything on the menu. That's why places like McDonald's are offering specials like "any size for a dollar". It's incredibly cheap. I'd say it's more likely that fast food soda dispensers aren't maintained as they should be.

They have to be "brixed", controlling the ratio of carbonated water to syrup. The nozzles and assemblies have to be cleaned out, soaking is best. The entire supply line post mixing has to be kept cold as well. Temperature has a huge effect on flavor.

This has to be done on a regular basis. Unfortunately for the consumers, fast food jobs have been dumbed down as much as they possibly can be to compensate for a shrunken workforce and ridiculous turnover. I would be surprised to find more than one person in any given location who knows how to properly care for a drink machine and is willing to do it. I would not be surprised to find locations without anyone who could/would do it.

BigRedChief
08-15-2011, 08:45 PM
I'd be pretty skeptical, though I don't really have any idea. Fast food sodas cost almost nothing. It seems to me there are far more effective ways of saving a few pennies.

(And I personally haven't noticed the phenomenon, myself.)Back when I was 16 we sold a tank of Coke syrup for $28.00 that cost about $3.00 and the resteraunt could get 2000+ 12 oz drinks out of a tank.

I think they are making enough out of fountain drinks to try to get 2250 drinks out of a tank.

Baby Lee
08-15-2011, 08:47 PM
They shouldn't. Soda at a fast food place has the highest profit margin of anything on the menu. That's why places like McDonald's are offering specials like "any size for a dollar". It's incredibly cheap. I'd say it's more likely that fast food soda dispensers aren't maintained as they should be.

They have to be "brixed", controlling the ratio of carbonated water to syrup. The nozzles and assemblies have to be cleaned out, soaking is best. The entire supply line post mixing has to be kept cold as well. Temperature has a huge effect on flavor.

This has to be done on a regular basis. Unfortunately for the consumers, fast food jobs have been dumbed down as much as they possibly can be to compensate for a shrunken workforce and ridiculous turnover. I would be surprised to find more than one person in any given location who knows how to properly care for a drink machine and is willing to do it. I would not be surprised to find locations without anyone who could/would do it.

Its been a while since I worked FF, but the soda machine and HVAC were the two things that were serviced solely by non-employees. I took a lot of stuff apart for cleaning and upkeep, but from the manager on down the only interaction with soda dispensers was wiping them down and replacing syrup.

kysirsoze
08-15-2011, 08:51 PM
Dude, do NOT get iced tea at a fast food place. I used to work at a mid-range casual dining place and the spigots there were constanly so caked with mold the tea came out at a trickle. Cleaning those things out is the one thing I would go out of my way to do. No way would I trust a fast food place to clean those when real restaurants don't even do it consistently.

Okie_Apparition
08-15-2011, 08:52 PM
Maybe they're switching to a healthier menu with less sodium. Very lightly sprinkle soda with salt

Phobia
08-15-2011, 08:53 PM
You're at an age where your tastes are changing and I'm being 100% serious. You may just not like soda any longer. When I was your age I determined that I hated Bud, Coors, and Miller products and adjusted my beer consumption based on despite the fact I had drank so much of the swill beer prior to then.

listopencil
08-15-2011, 08:56 PM
Its been a while since I worked FF, but the soda machine and HVAC were the two things that were serviced solely by non-employees. I took a lot of stuff apart for cleaning and upkeep, but from the manager on down the only interaction with soda dispensers was wiping them down and replacing syrup.

The refrigeration and pump unit, yeah. But employees can brix and clean. Mine did. I never let anybody touch the HVAC except to clean the grease filters.

BigMeatballDave
08-15-2011, 08:58 PM
Back when I was 16 we sold a tank of Coke syrup for $28.00 that cost about $3.00 and the resteraunt could get 2000+ 12 oz drinks out of a tank.

I think they are making enough out of fountain drinks to try to get 2250 drinks out of a tank.LOL Tank? How old are you? I remember working at a Hardees 20 yrs ago, it was a bag in a box then.

kysirsoze
08-15-2011, 08:58 PM
You're at an age where your tastes are changing and I'm being 100% serious. You may just not like soda any longer. When I was your age I determined that I hated Bud, Coors, and Miller products and adjusted my beer consumption based on despite the fact I had drank so much of the swill beer prior to then.

Yeah, a few years ago I just about stopped drinking coke altogether. Didn't try to cut it out or anything. I just realized I wasn't getting it anymore. I still have a mexican coke occassionally, but that's about it.

kysirsoze
08-15-2011, 08:59 PM
LOL Tank? How old are you. I remember working at a Hardees 20 yrs ago, it was a bag in a box then.

We had tanks at a hotel I worked at about 6 years ago.

aturnis
08-15-2011, 09:01 PM
It has to be the restaurant itself tampering with the carbonated soda to syrup mixture. It would make no sense for Coke or Pepsi to do it themselves. They would make less money. I would also think that they would regulate such things more, as they are being cheated.

It doesn't matter which fast food joint I go to
(McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Hardees,) or where I go to it, it's the same everywhere. Though I admit, some places are worse than others. I wonder if the corporations themselves are ordering it done? Go to a nearby gas station, buy a 20oz. of your favorite soda(coke, mt. dew, pepsi, dr. pepper), then go get a meal at the closest fast food joint, and compare. The carbonated water taste is strong.

BigRedChief
08-15-2011, 09:02 PM
LOL Tank? How old are you? I remember working at a Hardees 20 yrs ago, it was a bag in a box then.http://images.cheezburger.com/completestore/2009/6/6/128887919179183463.jpg

listopencil
08-15-2011, 09:04 PM
It has to be the restaurant itself tampering with the carbonated soda to syrup mixture. It would make no sense for Coke or Pepsi to do it themselves. They would make less money. I would also think that they would regulate such things more, as they are being cheated.

It doesn't matter which fast food joint I go to
(McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Hardees,) or where I go to it, it's the same everywhere. Though I admit, some places are worse than others. I wonder if the corporations themselves are ordering it done? Go to a nearby gas station, buy a 20oz. of your favorite soda(coke, mt. dew, pepsi, dr. pepper), then go get a meal at the closest fast food joint, and compare. The carbonated water taste is strong.

That plastic bottle is designed to be the perfect soda container for maintaining specific flavor. A fountain drink will not taste like a bottled soda.

aturnis
08-15-2011, 09:05 PM
You're at an age where your tastes are changing and I'm being 100% serious. You may just not like soda any longer. When I was your age I determined that I hated Bud, Coors, and Miller products and adjusted my beer consumption based on despite the fact I had drank so much of the swill beer prior to then.

I see what you're saying, but I gotta disagree. A fountain soda from the drive thru tastes WAY different than it's bottled counterpart. To me anyways. I have a pretty strong sense of smell and taste. I wonder if that's why I noticed it before a lot of my friends did.

RockChalk
08-15-2011, 09:06 PM
http://images.cheezburger.com/completestore/2009/6/6/128887919179183463.jpg

ROFL

aturnis
08-15-2011, 09:09 PM
That plastic bottle is designed to be the perfect soda container for maintaining specific flavor. A fountain drink will not taste like a bottled soda.

Of course I know that, but the gap has never been nearly this large. I shit you not, I have dumped out so many soda's it's not even funny. It shouldn't taste predominantly like carbonated water. Ever.

I work "construction" so a lot of my meals are on the go. Whether it be fast food or gas station crap.

I'm not crazy. I'm telling you, I'm not!

Spott
08-15-2011, 09:10 PM
One pet peeve that I've noticed at a couple of McDonalds is that after I have paid for the meal, they will refuse to give me my drink cup until the rest of my food is ready. A couple of times I have even asked for it after and they wouldn't give to me although I had already paid for it. I assume that they are doing it to save a little bit on their fountain drinks. Each time that they have done this, I have walked over to the fountain and turned the dispenser on while I waited on my cup.

listopencil
08-15-2011, 09:14 PM
One pet peeve that I've noticed at a couple of McDonalds is that after I have paid for the meal, they will refuse to give me my drink cup until the rest of my food is ready. A couple of times I have even asked for it after and they wouldn't give to me although I had already paid for it. I assume that they are doing it to save a little bit on their fountain drinks. Each time that they have done this, I have walked over to the fountain and turned the dispenser on while I waited on my cup.

That's bizarre. SOP is to give you the cup and let you go fill it. It's to keep you from noticing some of the time it takes to fill your order. Ideally by the time you have walked to the other end of the counter, filled your cup and capped it/gotten your straw in, then grabbed condiments and napkins, you're food should be ready.

kysirsoze
08-15-2011, 09:17 PM
One pet peeve that I've noticed at a couple of McDonalds is that after I have paid for the meal, they will refuse to give me my drink cup until the rest of my food is ready. A couple of times I have even asked for it after and they wouldn't give to me although I had already paid for it. I assume that they are doing it to save a little bit on their fountain drinks. Each time that they have done this, I have walked over to the fountain and turned the dispenser on while I waited on my cup.

If they did this to me, I would go dump out 3-4 full cups of soda before filling my drink for my own consumption.

Spott
08-15-2011, 09:21 PM
That's bizarre. SOP is to give you the cup and let you go fill it. It's to keep you from noticing some of the time it takes to fill your order. Ideally by the time you have walked to the other end of the counter, filled your cup and capped it/gotten your straw in, then grabbed condiments and napkins, you're food should be ready.

I know. It's only happened at McDonalds. At first they wouldn't give me my drink cup until I asked for it. Now a few of them have adapted this policy. It probably irritates me more because I work outside pretty much all day and since I live in Florida it's hot most of the year and I'm generally pretty thirsty if I go in there for lunch. I try to avoid the place at all costs but depending on where I'm working, sometimes they are the only option.

If they did this to me, I would go dump out 3-4 full cups of soda before filling my drink for my own consumption.

I did that the first time they did it to me. The first McDonalds that I ever saw do this was located on a large Navy base.

Baby Lee
08-15-2011, 09:21 PM
I never let anybody touch the HVAC except to clean the grease filters.
ROFL - missed that that was part of the V in HVAC. Yeah, we washed the filters at close every night.

Chiefaholic
08-15-2011, 09:25 PM
Back in the late 80's we received metal tanks of syrup from the truck at Mcdonalds. Back then we calibrated the syrup to water ratio ourselves. Currently they have people from Coke who calibrate the machines for them. So I doubt they're cutting back on the syrup to save costs. The cup and lid cost far more than the drink does anyway.

listopencil
08-15-2011, 09:26 PM
I know. It's only happened at McDonalds. At first they wouldn't give me my drink cup until I asked for it. Now a few of them have adapted this policy. It probably irritates me more because I work outside pretty much all day and since I live in Florida it's hot most of the year and I'm generally pretty thirsty if I go in there for lunch. I try to avoid the place at all costs but depending on where I'm working, but sometimes they are the only option.



I did that the first time they did it to me. The first McDonalds that I ever saw do this was located on a large Navy base.

I very rarely go to McD's anymore. I'm tempted to go in and check it out. That's just very bad business.

jspchief
08-15-2011, 09:27 PM
Quiktrip - Certified fountain quality

Consistent1
08-15-2011, 09:30 PM
I very rarely go to McD's anymore. I'm tempted to go in and check it out. That's just very bad business.

Never have seen it happen once myself.

listopencil
08-15-2011, 09:31 PM
Back in the late 80's we received metal tanks of syrup from the truck at Mcdonalds. Back then we calibrated the syrup to water ratio ourselves. Currently they have people from Coke who calibrate the machines for them. So I doubt they're cutting back on the syrup to save costs. The cup and lid cost far more than the drink does anyway.

We had Pepsi Food Service at Taco Bell. Bladders full of syrup in cardboard boxes. I had a handy man on call for refrig. and pump but we did everything else. We had a different company (Sierra Airgas) to supply the tanks of CO2. I don't know, I have heard that McD's was all about making every single location exactly like every other one and that you had very little leeway in running things. Pepsi expected you to act like you owned the place, and treated you that way.

Spott
08-15-2011, 09:37 PM
I very rarely go to McD's anymore. I'm tempted to go in and check it out. That's just very bad business.

It's not all of them. I think it's just certain storeowners that do it. A couple of them I've noticed doing it are at exits off of major highways.

listopencil
08-15-2011, 09:40 PM
It's not all of them. I think it's just certain storeowners that do it. A couple of them I've noticed doing it are at exits off of major highways.

Heh, I live in a town that exists between the exits of a major highway and freeway.

Baby Lee
08-15-2011, 09:43 PM
That plastic bottle is designed to be the perfect soda container for maintaining specific flavor. A fountain drink will not taste like a bottled soda.

It's weird, Coca Cola and 7-up, unparalleled carbonation in a plastic bottle.
Mountain Dew, gotta go with the fountain for adequate carbonation.

listopencil
08-15-2011, 09:48 PM
It's weird, Coca Cola and 7-up, unparalleled carbonation in a plastic bottle.
Mountain Dew, gotta go with the fountain for adequate carbonation.


I got used to fountain Mountain Dew and prefer it myself.

Rain Man
08-15-2011, 10:03 PM
None of the restaurants owned by Pepsi should be doing this. A good way to test the theory would be to see if it's happening only at chains that don't do this.

aturnis
08-15-2011, 10:25 PM
Quiktrip - Certified fountain quality

QT's replaced here by Road Ranger. Don't eat Road Rangers food.

aturnis
08-15-2011, 10:28 PM
None of the restaurants owned by Pepsi should be doing this. A good way to test the theory would be to see if it's happening only at chains that don't do this.

Good point. Actually I may be wrong in saying that all of them are affected. I know for sure McDonalds is. I guess I don't eat at all that many Pepsi restaurants lately b/c it's rarely the choice. I think you're right though. Now that I think about it, the Cherry Pepsi tasted just fine.

Rain Man
08-15-2011, 10:30 PM
Good point. Actually I may be wrong in saying that all of them are affected. I know for sure McDonalds is. I guess I don't eat at all that many Pepsi restaurants lately b/c it's rarely the choice. I think you're right though. Now that I think about it, the Cherry Pepsi tasted just fine.

I'm actually a fan of McDonald's, but their sodas are never right. I go to McDonald's in spite of the sodas, not because of them.

BigMeatballDave
08-15-2011, 11:37 PM
I'm actually a fan of McDonald's, but their sodas are never right. I go to McDonald's in spite of the sodas, not because of them.I shudder when I think about eating McDs.

BigMeatballDave
08-16-2011, 12:48 AM
We had tanks at a hotel I worked at about 6 years ago.6 yrs ago? I figured those tanks were long gone.

veist
08-16-2011, 01:24 AM
6 yrs ago? I figured those tanks were long gone.

The 5 gal tanks are pretty common in beer these days actually. Good way to get a beer on tap without having it take up a bunch of space in the cooler.

Thig Lyfe
08-16-2011, 01:29 AM
Weird, I had a soda at McDonald's last week that was way too syrupy.

Saulbadguy
08-16-2011, 09:25 AM
Anyone seen the Coca Cola Freestyle machines? They have one here at a Wendy's. You can add flavoring to nearly any soda, lots of combinations.

Pasta Giant Meatball
08-16-2011, 09:28 AM
Tastes like the same watered down crap like always to me.

Rain Man
08-16-2011, 09:45 AM
Anyone seen the Coca Cola Freestyle machines? They have one here at a Wendy's. You can add flavoring to nearly any soda, lots of combinations.

whoa, freaky. what kinds of flavors?
Posted via Mobile Device

Jenson71
08-16-2011, 09:48 AM
It's been 7.5 months since my last pop. I'm doing well. I definitely think I'll be able to go the whole year.

Deberg_1990
08-16-2011, 09:53 AM
Tastes like the same watered down crap like always to me.

heh, i will say that when soda machines are calibrated right with the correct mixture, its pretty delicious and nothing tastes better. But when its bad, its very bad

Jenson71
08-16-2011, 09:54 AM
Barq's from the can in a frosty mug with ice is the best.

DaKCMan AP
08-16-2011, 09:55 AM
Soda = the debbil

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS417uahtCLdxaxOHW2ON012dwdnKXlNDQs2anGfCWYMXUZUS87

Fish
08-16-2011, 10:09 AM
It's been 7.5 months since my last pop. I'm doing well. I definitely think I'll be able to go the whole year.

:thumb:

That stuff is horrible for you...

rocknrolla
08-16-2011, 10:14 AM
LOL Tank? How old are you? I remember working at a Hardees 20 yrs ago, it was a bag in a box then.

LMAO

rocknrolla
08-16-2011, 10:23 AM
I got used to fountain Mountain Dew and prefer it myself.

Me too by far. It's more carbonated and ALWAYS cold. Bottles don't seem to stay very cold in store coolers. Even the ones in the back. I don't know if it's just me.

rocknrolla
08-16-2011, 10:26 AM
It's been 7.5 months since my last pop. I'm doing well. I definitely think I'll be able to go the whole year.

Have you lost any weight?

Saulbadguy
08-16-2011, 10:27 AM
whoa, freaky. what kinds of flavors?
Posted via Mobile Device


Lime, Rasberry, Orange, Cherry, Cherry vanilla, etc...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coca-Cola_Freestyle

Jenson71
08-16-2011, 12:30 PM
Have you lost any weight?

Not really. I did for a little bit. I didn't drink a whole lot before this.

lcarus
08-16-2011, 12:56 PM
Me too by far. It's more carbonated and ALWAYS cold. Bottles don't seem to stay very cold in store coolers. Even the ones in the back. I don't know if it's just me.

I usually just take a bottle from a convenience store and put it in a freezer for a while if I have the chance. For some reason I think Coke in a 2 liter bottle tastes the best. I like a good fountain Coke too sometimes.

As far as fast food places dilluting the soda....they are. But not with the machines. They're doing it by putting WAY too much ice in your drink and then letting it sit there by the window for a few minutes before you get it. I mean I went to Sonic once and the cup was full with about 90% ice and 10% soda. It was a crock.

Omaha
08-16-2011, 03:02 PM
It's been 7.5 months since my last pop. I'm doing well. I definitely think I'll be able to go the whole year.

Very nice. What inspired your boycott?

I've gone well over a year with no soda and I've gone nearly 2 years without fast food. I don't miss the soda at all. I can't even stand the smell of fast food anymore so the convenience doesn't even tempt me any more.

Pants
08-16-2011, 03:28 PM
I know. It's only happened at McDonalds. At first they wouldn't give me my drink cup until I asked for it. Now a few of them have adapted this policy. It probably irritates me more because I work outside pretty much all day and since I live in Florida it's hot most of the year and I'm generally pretty thirsty if I go in there for lunch. I try to avoid the place at all costs but depending on where I'm working, sometimes they are the only option.



I did that the first time they did it to me. The first McDonalds that I ever saw do this was located on a large Navy base.

You ever heard of bottled water before, brah?

Jenson71
08-16-2011, 08:43 PM
Very nice. What inspired your boycott?

I've gone well over a year with no soda and I've gone nearly 2 years without fast food. I don't miss the soda at all. I can't even stand the smell of fast food anymore so the convenience doesn't even tempt me any more.

Wanting a healthier lifestyle was the motivation.

I've done it before once. Made it the entire year. I did have an energy drink though, that year, was is pretty much pop. Not doing that this year.

listopencil
08-16-2011, 09:04 PM
I read this book "Fast Food Nation" back in the beginning of the year that just gave me a very negative feeling towards modern fast food. I've barely eaten any fast food also because of the Summer heat. Once we had a week of 100 degree temps I started having cravings for high fiber, fruit and vegetables, nuts and berries. Other than that I've been eating a lot of home cooked chicken, fish and pork. This year I have eaten one BK Stacker (single) and one In-N-Out burger combo meal. I've lost fifteen pounds all together without actually going on a diet.

listopencil
08-16-2011, 09:07 PM
Very nice. What inspired your boycott?

I've gone well over a year with no soda and I've gone nearly 2 years without fast food. I don't miss the soda at all. I can't even stand the smell of fast food anymore so the convenience doesn't even tempt me any more.

I bought a giant (52 oz) refill cup from 7-11. I stop by on my way to work and get it filled with Gatorade when I have time. I'll drink that and as many as 4 refills of water, at work in a 10 hour shift and at home afterwords. If I am running late I just grab water at work and drink 4-5 cups.

Amnorix
08-16-2011, 11:02 PM
I'd be pretty skeptical, though I don't really have any idea. Fast food sodas cost almost nothing. It seems to me there are far more effective ways of saving a few pennies.

(And I personally haven't noticed the phenomenon, myself.)


This.

Thig Lyfe
08-17-2011, 12:13 AM
Fast food comes with so many negatives, yet I have no desire whatsoever to nix it completely. I can go weeks without eating it without any sort of concerted effort, but then when I do have it, it's goddamn delicious and totally worth it. Same goes for soda: I might spread a 12 pack over a week or two and then not drink any at all for a few weeks and I'm fine either way. Honestly, if a restaurant doesn't have Dr Pepper, I usually opt for water. My pickiness helps me drink soda in moderation, I guess.