Man Finally Discovers Why McDonald's Ice Cream Machines 'Are Always Broken'
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Filmmaker Johnny Harris found that there were actually multiple reasons behind the strange phenomena of broken ice cream makers at Maccies - and there's also a reason it never seems to happen at other fast food outlets.
The film touches on McBroken, a website that a software engineer created last year.
It uses a bot that tracks whether ice cream machines are working at McDonald's restaurants across the US.
Rashiq Zahid was inspired in the summer after he went to pick up a McSundae from a Maccies in Berlin, only to find the machine was broken.
The site displays a map of the US with every Maccies marked on with either a green dot or a red dot - green means the ice cream machine is working, red means it isn't.
It knows this thanks to Rashiq's bot, which places an order for a McSundae at every restaurant every 30 minutes via the McDonald's mobile app.
The app doesn't allow you to add ice cream products to your basket if the machine at the restaurant isn't working - as such, McBroken allows you to see where you'll be able to grab a McFlurry near you.
But as Harris discovers - whether the machine is actually broken or not is a different issue.
According to reports, the reason they seem to be broken so often could actually be in part down to the cleaning cycles of the machines. They have two separate cleaning processes, with one being a labour-intensive 11-step clean that involves sanitising the whole machine, including removing seven of the parts.
If the team are busy serving customers and making food, the machine will sit inoperable.
It also has a four-hour deep cleaning system, which - if the branch of Maccies is open 24 hours - will mean it's unusable for four of those hours. Staff members are also likely to be putting this on before closing down or when opening, meaning those are more times they're unable to clean it.
McDonald's franchise agreements also state that you have to use standardised food and machinery to keep the brand consistent.
The machines currently used in restaurants came out in 2003, and are called C602 - made by a company called Taylor.
Although other restaurants use machines made by Taylor, this exact model must be used in McDonald's restaurants.
Sometimes, the heat cycle on the machines fails for no apparent reason, meaning that staff have to run the cycle again, or the machine is locked out.
Harris says this can be because the mixture is too full and misses the heat cycle temperature target by even one degree.
Those specific machines are only fixed and maintained by one company - Taylor. If stores tried to use anyone else, it voids the warranty.
These are expensive to use, Harris explains, so the franchise owners have to pay thousands to fix the machines.
The company - Taylor - gets 25 percent of the revenue from repairs, meaning that it's down to franchise owners to fix a machine that is old-fashioned, and part of the business model for the machine owners is to have a profitable 'parts and service' network.