The dark underworld of McDonald's broken ice cream machines

Originally published at: The dark underworld of McDonald's broken ice cream machines | Boing Boing


I can not fathom any situation that I would desire to eat ice cream from McyD’s.


Can someone summarize? I like video essays, but half an hour about McD’s ice cream machines is asking too much for me.


It seems like anytime anything at all happens, someone is investigating, and there’s always a conspiracy.


Interesting read: They Hacked McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines—and Started a Cold War | WIRED


I like how the internet can turn something wildly uninteresting into a 30 minute video.


It’s capitalism at its finest. A series of perverse incentives, mainly that the company that makes the machines derives 25% of its revenue from performing service calls.


I have had occasion to use the latest Coke fountain machines also. They are often down, for similar reasons. The complexity of the machines rivals that of photo-quality inkjet mural printers. They even have a multitude of little ink, er, syrup cartridges that need to be replaced with alarming frequency.


Irrespective of whether you like McD’s “ice cream” or not…that was actually a pretty fun and interesting video. I was hooked and ended up watching the whole thing.


Taylor and McDonald’s have been business partners since the beginning. Taylor is the company that makes and services the McDonald’s ice cream machines. As a franchise owner, you’re required to purchase the Taylor machine ONLY. Taylor has no incentive to improve their machines, since it’s a captive market, and they have perverse incentive to keep their product unfixable by anyone but a Taylor’s service technician. (Taylor also makes ice cream machines for Wendy’s and other companies, and notice that those machines are basically never down.)

The cost of repair is borne by the franchise owner, who has to pay. An app company recently released an app that would connect to your Taylor ice cream machine and diagnose the actual problem and tell you how to fix it without calling a technician. McDonald’s found out, and ordered all franchise owners to stop using it immediately or it would void the warranty on the ice cream machine. McDonald’s is also working on a similar app, with a company owned by the same company that owns Taylor.


The random folks telling us not to be interested in things are interesting.


I wonder how far right to repair will effect this relationship.
I’ll be staying away McDuhs, John Deer is another to avoid… I could go on…

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I can’t believe I watched the whole thing. But it was fascinating (and well researched/published). Recommended watching.


The one missing piece is what’s in it for McDonalds corporate. Yeah, there’s an old relationship, but it seems very very one sided. All quid, no pro quo. I suspect the pro quo will be the icing on the cake, er, syrup on the sundae. .


that hadn’t occurred to me, but that’s a great insight.

Taylor makes 25% of their revenue from repairs, and McDonalds’ contracts with their franchisees enforces the use of the Taylor machine made specifically for McDonald’s which breaks all the time (unlike their machines for other clients) ensuring that steady stream of repair income…

so what does McDonald’s get from Taylor for enforcing these contracts?

there must be some type of kickback or else why is McDonald’s enforcing use of a machine that is designed to be repaired all the time?


I don’t have a lot of faith that right to repair will do much for us. Also the Kitch product that disrupted the perverse incentives also uses similar tactics: you don’t own the device, only rent it, you can’t move it to a different location or install it on a different device, etc. And all the Kitch is is a raspberry pi that connects to the ice cream machine’s USB port and sends you updates via wi-fi.

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Just go to Wendy’s and get a Frosty.

On the plus side it’ll clear out your intestinal tract too.

(Hence I don’t believe what she said about “cleaning the machine every night.”)


I just read this a couple of days ago. It kind of stole the thunder from this guy’s video for me, but it was still well done.


You need to read up the right to repair. check out;


Q: How do you know if someone doesn’t eat at McDonald’s / doesn’t own a TV / is a vegan?

A: They’ll tell you. Frequently.