Over one in five McDonald’s ice cream machines in New York are not working at the time of this post. While the problem has become a joke among consumers, the Federal Trade Commission has now decided it’s no laughing matter.
Via the Wall Street Journal:
The FTC reached out to McDonald’s franchisees this summer seeking information on what, exactly, is going on with the broken ice cream machine problem, according to a letter it sent, viewed by The Wall Street Journal, and people familiar with the matter. The FTC declined to comment.
For McDonald’s devotees, not to mention the company itself, a dysfunctional ice cream dispenser is no small matter. The shiny metal machines crank out concoctions that account for about 60% of the chain’s dessert sales in the U.S., according to a consumer survey by research firm Technomic Inc. Repeated breakdowns have led customers to draw up petitions demanding that something be done.
Earlier this year, Johnny Harris did the deepest deep dive into how McDonald’s and ice cream machine supplier Taylor Company have operated since 1956. He found that the reason about 10% to 20% of machines are typically out of service was due to two basic issues: a complicated automatic cleaning process that takes at least 4 hours to complete and must start over if any step fails, and the fact that Taylor derives a huge chunk of their revenue from servicing the machines, and only authorized Taylor-approved technicians were allowed to do this expensive work.
This kind of arrangement is running afoul of the “right to repair” movement, which states that those who possess a product should be allowed to repair it.
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