What happened to the condiment dispensing machines?

It seems that condiment dispensing machines are much less common than they were 5 or so years ago. You know, the ones where you either pump or press a button and some catsup or mustard or whatever comes out. I only recall seeing one of these in the past year as a matter of fact, at Wendy’s, and unfortunately I was ordering to go and the little cups for the catsup had no lids so I was forced to ask for some packets, and I dislike having to open so many catsup packets and I feel vaguely wasteful about using so much plastic and leaving some catsup in the packets.

Has their use declined, and if so was there a reason (for instance an industry study showing the cost of maintenance is prohibitive?)

I used one at a dairy Queen last week. I think our McDs has one. I am always wary about how long the catsup or mustard has been in those things.

The three burger places we go to the most (Burger Fi, Fuddrucker’s, and Five Guys) all have them.

I did think about 5 Guys before I posted (and then I thought about the burger chain! Ha!) but I haven’t been there in a year because they always try to upsell me and I was prepared to be pleasantly surprised when I ordered online but just when I thought my order was complete, the website made me go through another step where they tried to push more stuff on me before I could complete the order so bye bye.

One reason they may be in decline are increasing take out orders decreased sit down orders. It adds to maintenance costs requiring scheduled maintenance whether or not it’s used.

Wildly popular Chicago fast food chain Portillo’s has them for ketchup. I haven’t been in an Arby’s in ages but they always had Horsey sauce, Arby’s sauce and ketchup in the big dispensers.

How about the turncrank onion dispensers? I haven’t seen one of those in the longest time.

I recently used a ketchup dispenser at Arbys.
They had little containers to put it in.

I wouldn’t worry. Sugar and vinegar are natural preservatives. Ketchup is primarily tomato paste, sugar and vinegar and mustard is primarily just mustard seed and vinegar. Neither is going to spoil any time soon.

Costco has them.

That’s how those that want ketchup on their hot dogs get away with it!

As Beckdawrek said too, who knows how long its been sitting in there, more importantly if they ever clean the container or just refill it…

That’s what I was going to say. I just used some for my Japan Costco hot dogs last weekend. Also, Fatburgers and Shake Shack joints in Japan have them.

I never understood why do those ketchup packets have to be so small? Seriously, has anyone in the history of the world ever just used ONE ketchup packet?

It seems like it would be more cost effective for the manufacturers to just make bigger packets.

Anyway, the McDonald’s by my house has an electric dispenser. Just push and hold the button until you get the desired amount of ketchup.

My wife used to manage a fast food place. They gave up on the ketchup pumps because it became a constant battle to get rid of fruit flies. (They also had to get rid of the fake plastic greenery in the dividers between the booths because this was where fruit flies came from. Some people - kids? - were in the habit of dumping the remainder of their drinks into the fake plants - either because they thought they were real and they were dumping into soil, or more likely, to be assholes…)

There’s also the hygiene issue -if you have a bunch of inexperienced teenagers working for you, they may not see the value of food safety practices like cleaning the dispensers. My wife caught some of the staff who found it hilarious to toss things plike plastic pens into the deep fryer to watch them melt…

I see them around.

I still see those at baseball stadiums.

The plastic is one thing, but how much can you be leaving in the packets? There’s a quarter ounce in there at most anyway.

Pump-style condiment dispensers are still widely used in state, county, and local food fairs.

Fuddruckers, CostCo, McDonalds (catsup only), Arby’s, and the various Spring Training and Chase Field ballparks around here.

The ones I have seen refilled they drop in a big bag of relish, catsup, or mustard which then gets sucked dry so about the only place worrisome would be the dispensing tube after the pump lever, especially the very end of the nozzle.

I still see them, but kids make a giant mess with them, and waste a LOT of ketchup.

The cafeteria at my work has ketchup and mustard dispensers, along with packets.