Machines

McDonald’s sued over ice cream machines

Photography: Shutterstock

A tech startup that apparently devised a solution to help McDonald’s operators with a frustrating problem, broken ice cream machines, has filed a lawsuit alleging the burger giant conspired with the maker of the cream machine frozen to put it out of service.

Kytch Inc. has developed a device that allows operators to remotely monitor their ice cream machines, which it says reduces machine downtime.

In his lawsuit, he argues that McDonald’s worked with Taylor to drive Kytch out of the market after he struggled to develop his own similar product. Kytch argues that Taylor develops deliberately capricious machines so that they can charge franchisees for frequent repairs. The lawsuit also argues that McDonald’s and Taylor “fabricated false safety claims” to mislead operators about the effectiveness of the Kytch device.

The company argues that use of the device plummeted after McDonald’s warned operators that the device would void operators’ warranties and could pose safety risks to crew members cleaning or repairing the machines. which Kytch declared false.

“Kytch is bringing this action to set the record straight, to enforce the company’s civil rights, to curb McDonald’s anti-competitive conduct, to recover compensatory and punitive damages, to protect the consumer public of false and misleading advertisements, and to finally fix McDonald’s broken soft serve machines,” Kytch said in his lawsuit.

In a statement, McDonald’s called the allegations “baseless.” “McDonald’s owes it to our customers, crew and franchisees to maintain our rigorous safety standards and to work with fully vetted suppliers in this pursuit,” the company said. “Kytch’s claims are without merit, and we will respond to the complaint accordingly.”

The lawsuit comes months after Kytch filed a similar lawsuit against Taylor. In the process, he continued to keep in mind an issue that dogged McDonald’s for years – problems associated with its ice cream machines.

Broken machines have long been a running joke on social media. In 2020, a software engineer created a web page that tracks which ice cream machines are working or down in a given area. San Diego-based McDonald’s rival Jack in the Box recently began advertising its own Oreo Cookie Mint Shake on the site, saying “Don’t be McShammed.”

The problems with McDonald’s ice cream machines highlight one of the franchise’s challenges. Franchisors often require franchisees to purchase specific equipment, sometimes obtaining discounts for this requirement in the process. This may leave franchisees little recourse if the equipment is not of high quality.

Many businesses are eager to sell their goods and services to franchisees, especially in a system as large as McDonald’s. Franchisors, who want consistency from business to business, generally approve the type of equipment that franchisees can purchase. He argued that the Kytch product has not been approved.

The McDonald’s ice cream machine controversy has been the focus of media reports in recent years, particularly after Kytch filed his initial lawsuit against Taylor.

The software company has now turned to McDonald’s, arguing that the burger giant helped it shut down. He argues he was on his way to a $50 million valuation in 2020, and “exponentially more” the following year, before McDonald’s issued its security warning. “McDonald’s unlawful conduct had dire financial consequences for Kytch, its founders, investors and employees,” the lawsuit said.

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