Ice cream machine broke? To McDonald’s, the meme is an everyday reality.
For years, the fast-food giant has struggled to figure out the intricacies of serving a frozen dessert that dates back to 200 BCE. McDonald’s only made $19 billion last year. What do you expect them to do? Make ice cream? And even though McDonald’s has tried everything, including joking about it on Twitter, which you think would solve the problem, the machines remain broken. Nevertheless, franchisees don’t find it so funny, considering their employees are the ones that get stuck telling people the machines are broken. While McDonald’s customers are famously chill, the National Owners Association said, “We are tired of being the butt of late night jokes. So are our customers and crews.”
Thankfully, the Federal Trade Commission is also tired of waiting for their damn McFlurry.
Per The Wall Street Journal, the FTC is talking to McDonald’s franchisees about their hopelessly complicated ice cream machines. It’s about time. Over the last year, McDonald’s ice cream machines began overtaking McDonald’s french fries in Google searches. Presumably, these are people looking for a working one. There’s an app for that, or rather a website that tracks which machines are working.
The mystery surrounding the machines has been long documented. They’re notoriously hard to clean, and when their nightly automated maintenance fails, the franchise must wait for a repair technician. There have been some fixes for this. The startup Kytch launched a device that alerts owners to breakdowns, providing them with a clear message for what went wrong. Currently, the machines themselves, produced by Taylor Commercial Foodservice LLC, offer messages that are as clear as a McFlurry with messages like “ERROR: XSndhUIF LHPR>45F 1HR LPROD too VISC.” What a joy it must be to read that message while working a backed-up McDonald’s drive-thru during a global pandemic.
“Nothing is more important to us than delivering on our high standards for food quality and safety,” McDonald’s told WSJ, “which is why we work with fully vetted partners that can reliably provide safe solutions at scale.” Let’s hope that McDonald’s finally finds the right partner that teaches them how to make ice cream.