McDonalds is a leader fast food chain and basically all of America has known of or have tried McDonald’s fries. The company has had a infamous issue with ice cream machines being broken. The site mcbroken.com has been keeping track of the amount of machines broken in major cities. Currently as of reading around 29% of machines are broken in New York which is practically a third of all stores. The infamous problem with ice cream machines has led even the FTC to investigate the problem.
In August 2020, McDonald’s even poked fun at the problems on Twitter. “We have a joke about our soft serve machine but are worried it won’t work.”
So, why is the FTC so interested on the constant breaking of ice cream machines? According to WSJ, the ice cream machines are highly specialized and only manufactured by Taylor Commercial Foodservice LLC. Jim Lewis, a McDonald’s restaurant owner, told WSJ, “The ice cream machine was so over-engineered it was silly. Sometimes simple is just better.” They also require a nightly automated heat-cleaning that lasts up to four hours which, if it fails, renders them unusable until they can be repaired. “When working with dairy products, you have to make sure the machine is cleaned properly,” a Taylor representative told WSJ. “The machines are built up with a lot of interconnecting parts that have to operate in a complex environment and manner.”
The machines, therefore, require special training to fix them, which is entirely in the hands of Taylor manufacturing. Some franchise owners pay to train staff how to fix machines and others contact Taylor or an authorized repair company, the WSJ reported.
The FTC is looking into how McDonald’s reviews suppliers and equipment, and how frequently restaurant owners are allowed to do work on their own machines, WSJ reported. In a letter, the FTC wrote that “the existence of a preliminary investigation does not indicate the FTC or its staff have found any wrongdoing,” and McDonald’s told the WSJ it has no reason to believe it was the focus of an investigation.
With the consistent fixes that the Taylor made machines have to go through it is no surprise that the machines caught the FTC’s attention. Maybe we will see change with less machines broken across the US.