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FTC Launches Probe into McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines


FTC Launches Probe into McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines

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The ice cream machine at McDonald’s being busted is a long-enduring joke. No matter where you go, whether you want a McFlurry or a regular cone, the machine is broken, and nobody in the building seems to know why or how to fix it. It’s an amusing joke, certainly, but it becomes less funny and more concerning when you realize this has been a consistent problem for well over two decades now. Why are the ice cream machines so prone to failure, and why can’t anyone seem to fix them in a timely manner? That’s what the Federal Trade Commission is looking to find out.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, over the last few months, the FTC has been sending out letters to various McDonald’s franchisees around the United States to determine the exact scope and nature of the ice cream machine failures. From what the correspondence they received, the particular model of ice cream machine that all McDonald’s locations use is bizarrely anachronistic. The machines need to undergo a nightly self-cleaning operation that uses heat for sanitization. These cycles are apparently prone to frequent failure, and only technicians certified exclusively in the machines’ maintenance are able to get them up and running again. Franchisees are prohibited from learning how to maintain the ice cream machines themselves for reasons unknown.

These malfunctioning machines have proven to be a massive headache for franchisees, and not just because of all the jokes that arise from them. Having a licensed technician dispatched from the company that distributes the machines costs thousands of dollars yearly, all of which franchisees have to pay out of pocket.

McDonald’s corporate, for their part, have acknowledged the frustrations of customers and franchises and are allegedly pursuing means of improving things, such as changing their training regimens or running more frequent maintenance checks. They do not, however, believe they’re under a genuine FTC investigation.

“Nothing is more important to us than delivering on our high standards for food quality and safety, which is why we work with fully vetted partners that can reliably provide safe solutions at scale,” they said in a statement.

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