McDonald’s McFlurry Machines are McUnder McInvestigation by the McFTC

The fed seeks to find out why they can’t reliably obtain a frozen treat.

Stock picture of a McDonald's McFlurry.   (Photo by Edmond Terakopian - PA Images/PA Images via Gett...
Edmond Terakopian - PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images

Maybe McFlurry machines shouldn’t exist at all. This is what I’ve gathered from a recent story in the Wall Street Journal, which reports the United States Federal Trade Commission is investigating the chain for the consistent brokenness of its cold treat machines. Apparently this is a problem so pervasive late night comedians have commented on it, as well as people on Twitter, as well as maybe you. Have you run into this problem, as a McDonald’s customer? If so you do not have my sympathies, because I don’t care and I wouldn’t lie to you, but know that I understand that life is a chain of miseries that we all just have to follow until its end. If you have run into this problem as a McDonald’s worker, however, my sympathies are yours.

The thing about the machines is that they are very complicated. They have to be able to keep ice cream frozen while withstanding a nightly heat-cleaning cycle to get rid of bacteria, plus they’re just sort of shitty, so they break a lot, generally post-cleaning cycle. And once they break, they need to be repaired by a technician from the manufacturer, Taylor Commercial Foodservice LLC.

This startup company called Kytch built a diagnostic tool to alert McDonald’s franchise owners about what exactly was wrong with their machines, in order to allow them to attempt to fix the machines themselves. This was working out fine until McDonald’s told franchise owners late last year that, according to the WSJ, “the devices aren’t sanctioned and said they potentially pose a safety hazard.” (Kytch denies this.) McDonald’s said not to fret, though, as they were in the process of developing their own smart diagnostic device.

Kytch sued them, accusing Taylor and McDonald’s of conspiring to replicate their McFlurry diagnostic technology, alleging they got their hands on the tech after an employee brought a machine in to be repaired with a Kytch device attached to it. The lawsuit alerted the FTC to the situation, and their investigation is now in its early stages. A FTC representative told the WSJ that they’ve so far inquired about “how McDonald’s reviews suppliers and equipment, including the ice cream machines, and how often restaurant owners are allowed to work on their own machines.”

Oh my god. How to people have the energy for this? If I were in charge I would say: Okay no more McFlurry machines. Too much hassle. Replace them with something easier. Let our exhausted employees not have to deal with this stupid bullshit all the time. McFlurrys, apparently, again according to the WSJ, make up 60 percent of McDonalds’ dessert revenue, which is a lot, but — McDonalds makes a lot of money anyway. Who cares. Do a new dessert.

Have I ever had a McFlurry? No, but I have had a Frosty from Wendy’s. Those are good, and I’ve never heard about the machines breaking, so maybe McDonalds can do something like that. I’m just spitballing. McDonalds will have to figure it out on their own but I recommend ditching the whole McFlurry operation. Exhausting.