One TikTok user may have broken the code as to the real reason McDonald's ice cream machines have gotten the reputation of being less-than-reliable. The broken McDonald's ice cream machine has become a meme over the years, and tons of people have spread the conspiracy theory that it's simply employees not wanting to deal with making the ice cream instead of an actual mechanical malfunction.
TikTok's Johnny Harris, however, claims to have the real reason for the ice cream drought, however, blaming the machines being offline as a combination of glitchy machines and inconvenient servicing. Harris breaks down his theory on @behindthebrands, explaining that Taylor Company is the supplier of the restaurant chain's ice cream machines. He explains that these machines go through a daily self-cleaning process, but that process takes about four hours to complete.
Right off the bat, that's a lot of downtime for the machines, but Harris also alleges that these machines are plagued by all kinds of errors during the process that prompt a whole new cleaning cycle to begin. If a machine outright breaks, there's no way for employees in the store to fix it, as Taylor technicians are the only people who are qualified to fix and reset the machines, causing the store to essentially stand by until an opening arises. Finally, Harris claims that because these machines are so expensive, a lot of stores only have one to their name, and too many ice cream orders at once can cause it to overheat.
McDonald's fault ice cream machines have become a widespread joke over the past few years, with even the brand's own social media poking fun in an August 2020 tweet: "We have a joke about our soft serve machine but we're worried it won't work," the McDonald's official Twitter account wrote. After an actual app came out tracking McDonald's locations that did have working ice cream machines, McDonald's own National Supply Leadership Council equipment team member and franchise owner Tyler Gamble publicly pledged to fix the issue for his fellow franchisees.
"I will not feel that my tenure as your equipment lead has been a success unless we find a way to ensure that McDonald's is no longer the butt of the joke, even with their own social media team,” Gamble said in October 2020, as per Business Insider. As for McDonald's the restaurant released a statement saying it "remains committed to providing a restaurant experience that our customers expect, and that includes being able to purchase the sweet treats they enjoy from our dessert menu. McDonald's, our franchisees, and our suppliers are constantly working together on improving and enhancing the restaurant experience so that customers can enjoy McDonald's food where and when they want it."