Machines

Why about 11% of McDonald’s ice cream makers are broken?

If you fancied a soft cone, a hot fudge sundae, a McFlurry or a Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s in the United States on Saturday, there was at some point a 10.83% chance that you didn’t get any, according to mcbroken.com.

In New York, almost 35% of McDonald’s ice cream makers were out of order Saturday morning. In Dallas, 17.24% were not working. In Los Angeles and Chicago, almost 16% were broken. Luckily for San Francisco locals with a penchant for ice cream, no machines were reported.

For many customers – including some who have created memes and petitions regarding their McDonald’s ice cream issues – it may seem strange that a company with more than $23 billion in revenue would have such a hard time making it work. his equipment for years. Even McDonald’s the social media team joked about it.

So what’s up? Why don’t these machines work?

According to Wired, the $18,000 Taylor Brand ice cream machines used in more than 13,000 McDonald’s locations “have earned a reputation for being absurdly finicky and flimsy,” and have a hard-to-navigate user interface.

Not so long ago there was an outside attempt to make machines easier to use.

“It’s a huge money saver to have a customer who is deliberately, intentionally blind and unable to make very fundamental changes to their own equipment,” Jeremy O’Sullivan told Wired.

After researching the machines, O’Sullivan and his partner Melissa Nelson started selling a Wi-Fi gadget called Kytch about three years ago that “essentially hacks” the machines and offers a simpler interface. Now they’re suing Taylor and McDonald’s.

Kytch filed suit against McDonald’s on Tuesday. Previously, the startup sued Taylor. He claims the two companies attempted to reverse engineer Kytch’s device, according to Food & Wine. In July, a judge issued a temporary restraining order against Taylor related to the case, the outlet said.

In a statement sent to Food & Wine, McDonald’s USA called the allegations “baseless.”

At one point, McDonald’s owners in 30 states used Kytch’s outage detector, the startup said, according to The Wall Street Journal. However, McDonald’s told franchisees that the devices were not sanctioned and could pose a safety risk. Kytch denies it.

“Much of what has been released can be attributed to lack of knowledge about equipment and how it works in restaurants,” a rep for Taylor said. “You have to make sure the machine is properly cleaned. Machines are built with many interconnected parts that must operate in a complex environment and manner. »

In particular, an automated hot cleaning cycle meant to destroy bacteria that can last up to four hours is causing problems for McDonald’s stores. If the cycle fails, the machines cannot be used until a repair technician can get them running again.

In September, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Trade Commission contacted McDonald’s franchisees over the summer about the ice cream machine problem. Even with the FTC’s reported investigation and legal battles over the machines, it doesn’t look like they’re getting any easier to use, according to statistics from mcbroken.com.

Software engineer Rashiq Zahid created the site in 2020, when he was 24, according to The Verge. Jack in the Box, another fast-food chain, teamed up with mcbroken this week to promote its own frozen treats.