McDonald’s soft-serve ice cream tastes good, but as patrons of the fast food chain know, the cold sweet treat is not available almost most of the time because the machines that make them are always broken. Some patrons think that McDonald’s employees are deliberately messing up with them every time they are told that the ice cream machines are broken. That, however, is simply not true, because the inconsistent availability of McDonald’s ice cream is basically due to bad machinery and inconvenient servicing.
As explained in the TikTok video below, Taylor Company, the firm that supplies McDonald’s with its ice cream machines, follows impractical and questionable protocols that end up preventing customers get their favorite desserts.
@behindthebrandsJOHNNY HARRIS made a great video on the topic, check it out to learn more ##marketing ##businesstiktok ##behindthebrands ##mcdonaldsicecreammachine♬ original sound – BehindTheBrands
The Taylor-branded ice cream machine that all McDonald’s franchisees are forced to use features an automated self-cleaning function that takes less than four hours to complete. If that’s not already a huge setback for ice cream-craving customers, the TikTok video also points out that the machines often get stalled by inexplicable errors during the four-hour cleaning session, compelling McDonald’s employees to restart the whole cleaning cycle from the very beginning.
But the worst thing that can happen during a cleaning cycle is when the machine completely breaks down and the McDonald’s location is left with no other option but to call in a Taylor Company technician to fix and reset the machine. Interestingly, the TikTok video implies that these machine failures are part of Taylor Company’s business model, as the firm is apparently earning from these machine failures.
The TikTok video notes that Taylor Company technicians cost a whopping $315 for every 15 minutes, adding that the repair service and replacement parts on Taylor Company’s machines account for about 25% of the firm’s revenue.
Some McDonald’s ex-employees also shared on social media that Taylor Company’s ice cream machines are so expensive that each McDonald’s location only gets one. According to them, the ice cream machine also overheats quickly if too many orders are put in, causing temporary shutdowns on top of the longer ones caused by cleaning.
While McDonald’s doesn’t seem to be doing anything to solve the problem, the chain’s National Owners Association (NOA) have taken the matter into their own hands. Last October, Tyler Gamble, a McDonald’s franchisee and leader of the National Supply Leadership Council equipment team announced the formation of a team of franchise owners and suppliers that would find solutions to the chain’s notoriously broken soft-serve machines.
“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 at NOA’s 2020 annual meeting in Denver, referring to the way McDonald’s often pokes fun at its own problem online.
we have a joke about our soft serve machine but we're worried it won't work
— McDonald’s⁷ (@McDonalds) August 11, 2020
Some franchisees are now using a device that corrects human error and aids ice cream machine users understand the machine’s behavior. Developed by software company Kytch, the technology can detect if the ice cream machine is overfilled or underfilled, a seemingly simple error that can put the machine out of use for three to four hours. The device self-corrects such mistakes by alerting McDonald’s employees, thereby helping prevent the machine from having a lengthier shutdown period.
“This is no silver bullet,” Gamble said of the device created by Kytch during the NOA meeting. “But it’s my belief that the information it provides increases awareness and results in fast reaction times when a problem does occur.” In fact, some franchisees said the device has changed their stores for the better.