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The Real Reason Why McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines are Always Broken

McDonald’s is well-known for their hamburgers, fries, and ice cream, of course. But many customers have felt frustrated when they attempt to order a McFlurry and are informed that the ice cream machine is broken. Many people wonder why the ice cream machines at McDonald’s restaurants across the nation consistently break down because this seems to be a common occurrence.

interior shot of McDonald's restaurant in Shenzhen, China.

Customers have gone to social media to vent about the problem, and some have even set up websites to keep tabs on which McDonald’s stores have functional ice cream machines.

The Federal Trade Commission, which started looking into the matter in 2021, has also become interested in the subject.

Many people wonder why the ice cream machines at McDonald’s are constantly broken because the issue doesn’t go away in spite of these efforts.

The McDonald’s Ice Cream Machine

Ice cream machines at McDonald’s have a reputation for being damaged or out of commission.

man holding McDonald's vanilla Ice Cream

Customers are frequently unhappy to discover that the ice cream machine is broken when they are craving a McFlurry or soft serve cone.

As a result, there is now an illicit market for the coveted McDonald’s ice cream, along with dissatisfaction and jokes.

The Problem with the Machine

The McDonald’s ice cream machine frequently breaks down for a variety of reasons.

shot of McDonald's restaurant

The elaborate cleaning procedure needed for the devices is one of the key problems.

The C602 ice cream maker that McDonald’s uses has a thorough cleaning procedure that can take up to four hours to finish, according to Allrecipes.

The machines are frequently unavailable during the day because this cleaning procedure can only be done at night.

Lack of maintenance and training for the machinery is another problem. According to NPR, the Federal Trade Commission is looking into why the devices break down so regularly.

McDonald’s has acknowledged the issue and introduced new employee training programs and consistent machine maintenance schedules.

The intricacy of the machines themselves is a third problem. The machines might be challenging to maintain because of their numerous moving parts.

This implies that it may take a while to fix a malfunctioning machine, resulting in protracted periods of downtime.

In conclusion, for many customers, the McDonald’s ice cream machine has come to represent annoyance and disappointment.

The frequent malfunctions are caused by a number of circumstances, but McDonald’s is taking action to fix the issue and increase the accessibility of its ice cream items.

The Business of McDonald’s

One of the biggest fast-food franchises in the world, McDonald’s serves millions of people every day.

worker with ice cream cone at McDonald's Dessert

The company sells a variety of sweets, including soft serve ice cream, in addition to its famous burgers, fries, and other fast food items.

It is impossible to exaggerate how crucial the ice cream machine is to McDonald’s operations.

The Importance of the Ice Cream Machine

For a number of reasons, the ice cream machine is essential to McDonald’s operations.

Worker at McDonald's

First off, the McFlurry is one of the best-selling desserts and is a well-liked menu item. It also plays a significant role in the branding and marketing of the business.

In addition to its recognizable golden arches, McDonald’s is well recognized for its soft serve ice cream.

Finally, a big source of income for the business is the ice cream machine. McDonald’s reported that ice cream and other desserts generated $9.8 billion in global sales in 2020.

The Impact of the Broken Machine

Nevertheless, despite the ice cream machine’s significance, both customers and employees find it frustrating.

mcdonald's restaurant inside

Due to the devices’ propensity for malfunctioning, clients may have to wait a long period, costing the business money.

The machines are also challenging to maintain and clean, which may cause further problems.

The broken ice cream machine’s effects go beyond just dissatisfied customers and lost money.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began looking into McDonald’s ice cream machines’ frequent outages in 2021.

The study is a component of a larger initiative to encourage marketplace competition and consumer choice.

In conclusion, the ice cream machine is an essential component of McDonald’s operations, but its frequent failures have irritated both clients and staff.

The company is still striving to find solutions to these problems, but it is unclear how successful they will be in keeping the ice cream maker in good operating order.

The Technicalities of the Machine

The complicated equipment used in McDonald’s ice cream machines needs routine maintenance and cleaning in order to operate well.

Hand holding Ice cream cone Sundae from McDonald's

One of the top manufacturers of foodservice equipment, Taylor Company, is the company that makes the machines.

There are multiple parts to the McDonald’s ice cream maker, including a refrigeration system, a mixing unit, and a dispensing unit.

The ice cream mix is made in the mixing unit, refrigerated, and then dispensed through the dispensing unit.

The machines’ complex cleaning procedure is one of the factors contributing to their frequent malfunctions.

Every day, the Taylor ice cream maker needs to be cleaned and sanitized, a procedure that takes four hours.

The ice cream maker is unable to produce ice cream for these four hours. However, because they are aware of this, the staff typically cleans the machine at night.

The difficulty of the mixing process is another technical problem that leads to machine failure.

The mixing unit is made up of a hopper, a pump, and a heat exchanger, among other components. The machine won’t work properly if any of these components break down or get clogged.

McDonald’s has established a new training program for its staff to make sure that the machines are properly cleaned and maintained in order to prevent these technological problems.

The business has also started to replace older, less reliable equipment in its eateries.

In conclusion, the McDonald’s ice cream machine’s mechanical components are intricate and require routine upkeep and cleaning to operate correctly.

Despite the company’s efforts to address these problems, the machines continue to malfunction regularly as a result of their complex construction and cleaning procedure.

The Future of McDonald’s Ice Cream Machine

Even though McDonald’s ice cream machines continue to have problems, the fast food juggernaut is actively trying to fix the problem.

McDonald's Ice Cream Machines

To solve the ice cream machine issue, McDonald’s is taking the following actions:

New Machines

A new supplier, San Francisco-based Kytch, and McDonald’s have teamed up to create an ice cream machine that is simpler to use and maintain.

The new machines come with sensors that can identify issues and notify restaurant employees before a breakdown occurs.

Improved Training

Additionally, McDonald’s is spending money on more thorough ice cream machine maintenance and operation training for its employees.

This covers both in-person training sessions and online training materials.

Right to Repair

McDonald’s has also promised to give its franchisees wider access to repair information and tools in response to criticism from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Instead of having to wait for a professional from the manufacturer to come and fix the equipment, this will make it easier for restaurant owners to fix the machines themselves.

Regular Maintenance

To assist avoid malfunctions, McDonald’s is putting in place a regular maintenance schedule for its ice cream machines.

This includes routinely cleaning the equipment and checking that it is operating correctly.

These actions are a step in the right way, even though it is unclear if they will fully resolve the McDonald’s ice cream machine issue.

By making investments in cutting-edge equipment, better training programs, and easier access to repair information, McDonald’s is demonstrating its dedication to giving its clients the delicious frozen delights they enjoy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Mcdonald's McFlurry ice cream

Why are McDonald’s ice cream machines always broken?

The reasons why McDonald’s ice cream machines are always broken are varied. One reason is that the machines are complicated and require regular maintenance. According to NPR, the machines have a lot of parts and are difficult to clean, which can lead to malfunctions. Additionally, the machines are designed to keep the ice cream mix at a certain temperature, which can be difficult to achieve if the mix is not stored properly.

Is there a specific time of day when the machines are most likely to be broken?

There is no specific time of day when the machines are most likely to be broken. However, according to Allrecipes, the machines are most likely to be broken during peak hours, when they are being used the most. This can lead to overheating and other malfunctions.

Why can’t McDonald’s just fix the machines?

McDonald’s is aware of the problem and has taken steps to address it. However, according to The Boston Globe, the company has faced criticism for not allowing franchisees to repair the machines themselves. Instead, franchisees are required to use authorized repair services, which can be expensive and time-consuming.

Is there a way to check if the ice cream machine is working before ordering?

There is no surefire way to check if the ice cream machine is working before ordering. However, some customers have used the website McBroken, which tracks which McDonald’s locations have working ice cream machines in real-time. Additionally, customers can ask the staff if the machine is working before placing an order.

McDonald's mcFlurry ice cream top view


In conclusion, a number of variables contribute to the perpetual malfunction of McDonald’s ice cream machines.

The complicated devices need to be cleaned every day, which might take up to four hours. The devices’ proprietary software and architecture make them vulnerable to breakdowns as well.

Due to privacy and security concerns, McDonald’s has discouraged the use of third-party software like Kytch.

However, some franchisees claim that using these tools has increased the dependability of their equipment.

Broken ice cream dispensers continue to be a regular concern among McDonald’s customers despite efforts to fix the problem.

The fast food franchise has acknowledged the issue and has made measures to increase the dependability of its equipment, including rolling out new models and educating staff members.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.