The broken reputation of McDonald's soft serve machines is as widespread as the chain's McFlurry fandom. Frequent service interruptions have spawned a plethora of complaints and conspiracy theories on social media. If you've ever attempted to order either a soft serve or a McFlurry, you've likely experienced the frustration firsthand.
The global problem is so well-known that rival chains have even poked fun at McDonald's. For example, a Sonic location once trolled McDonald's with a sign that read, "Our ice cream machine works unlike Mc … NVM." (Related: 9 Restaurant Chains That Closed Hundreds of Locations This Summer.)
— TheShadeRoom (@TheShadeRoom) February 24, 2017
There are several reasons why the machines are apparently so finicky. They are extremely sensitive to being both over- and underfilled, and a mandatory heat cleaning cycle can put machines out of commission for up to four hours during the day.
McDonald's previously attempted to fix the problem in 2017. The chain announced a major rollout of brand-new machines with fewer parts, therefore streamlining maintenance and repairs. The new machines were supposed to be installed in all locations in the U.S. and Europe, but the status of the rollout remains unclear. The burger giant could not confirm that any such equipment update had taken place as of this March, according to Business Insider.
Fed up with disappointing customers, some franchisees have taken it upon themselves to find a solution. As of October 8, franchise owners had formed a team spearheading a search for a permanent solution to the soft serve machine problem. "No idea is off the table," according to Tyler Gamble, a leader on the National Supply Leadership Council.
And a solution may not be so far out of reach. Software company Kytch recently created a device that serves as a sort of soft serve machine whisperer. It interprets a machine's sometimes mysterious behavior so users can more easily course correct during operation. While this solution hasn't officially been adopted by McDonald's, many franchisees are already using it with success. If this solution sticks, that once elusive McDonald's soft serve may become a thing of the past.
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