The Reason Why Restaurant Soda Tastes Different

Learn why McDonald’s Sprite tastes so good.

Many people love a sweet and tasty soda with their lunch or dinner. But, whether you prefer Pepsi, Sprite, or Fanta, you have likely tasted some differences between the soda at a diner or fast food place and those from cans and bottles. 

Three cola glass with ice cubes and bubbles

So, why does soda taste different at restaurants? Do your local restaurants use different brands of soda? Have you ever had a can of soda and felt a metallic taste? There are multiple answers to these questions.

Furthermore, some fast food places that sell fountain drinks tend to add more or less syrup while others have different carbon dioxide levels.

These are some of the potential reasons why the same soda can taste differently from a can or bottle compared to those from restaurants.

Keep reading to learn more about the reasons why restaurant soda tastes different. Now, let’s get started!

Why Does Soda Taste Better at Restaurants?

So, why does soda taste different at restaurants? Why is it better?

Multiple reasons exist for the better taste. First, fountain sodas get made right in the machine instead of getting delivered to restaurants. 

At a restaurant, the mixing process occurs in the machines themselves. Some places use more syrup than others to flavor the drinks. Furthermore, different restaurants can make different brands of soda.

Also, some Mcdonald’s eateries have their syrup delivered in plastic bags. Other places have syrup delivered in stainless steel containers.

In addition, restaurants add ice to your soda drinks, while you may not have any ice to add to your soda from a can or bottle. Restaurants nearly always serve cold soda with ice.

Also, more ice can dilute the flavor and make it taste better. Sometimes, soda may have too much syrup and sugar. If you want a more reasonable amount of sweetness, diluting it with ice can help improve the taste. 

If you use a straw, that can change the taste as well. Large straws mean more soda hits your taste buds all at once. 

Fountain Soda vs. Canned Soda

Fountain soda and canned soda have somewhat different tastes because of the processes in which they are made.

Canned soda is usually pre-made. Fountain soda, as mentioned above, gets made in the machine using different proportions when mixing syrups. 

Essentially, fountain sodas can get personalized based on the amount of sugar and syrup you prefer.

Furthermore, canned soda usually has a consistent taste since they get made using a specific formula in factories. 

Aluminum cans are also more porous than plastic bottles, which means more carbonation can get out. As such, canned soda may have a flat drink taste. 

Why Does Soda Taste Different at Different Restaurants?

Because fast-food chains and other restaurants use a soda fountain, some may have sweeter sodas while others have more diluted or less sweet drinks. 

The way eateries carbonate their drinks also varies between chains because of the water they use.

Restaurant owners can get their water used for soda from different places, changing the taste.

Some restaurants use tap water, while others use filtered water. This difference won’t be glaring because it is hidden by the flavoring of the soda, but it does make a slight difference in taste.

If you have a sensitive palate, you may be able to tell the difference.  

Why Is Sprite Better at McDonald’s?

Sprite from McDonald’s has a more powerful and delicious taste than other places that serve the same soda.

The reasoning relates to the four levels of filtration the water goes through at McDonald’s.

The water is also cooled down before it gets mixed with the syrup. Cold water works better at carbonation, which can make the taste of Sprite better.

Further, McDonald’s serves the drinks with wider straws, allowing more soda to spread over your taste buds. 

You might also prefer the Sprite from McDonald’s because you’re drinking it down after eating their salty fries and chicken nuggets. The interaction between salty food and sweet soda provides a fantastic taste.

Final Thoughts

After reading through the overview above, you should understand precisely why soda tastes different at restaurants compared to canned or bottled soda.

If you love Sprite, you should probably check out the Sprite at McDonald’s since it’s known for tasting great.

If you want the most delicious soda, you should wait until you go to a restaurant to order some. That way, you will cut the amount of sugar in your diet while enjoying the tastiest version of your favorite drinks. 

Learn more about restaurants on our blog, and learn about etiquette like whether you can bring your own drinks to a restaurant.

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin is an editor and food writer who loves traveling and trying new foods and fun cocktails. Erin has been writing and editing professionally for 5 years since graduating from Temple University, and has been on the Restaurant Clicks team for 3 years. She has a long background working in the restaurant industry, and is an avid home chef and baker. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.