There might be big changes coming to McDonald's ice cream machines

Have you ever hit up Mickey D's hoping for an ice cream cone, a sundae, a McFlurry, or even a shake, only to be told no, you can't get one because our soft-serve machine is down? Of course you have, since McDonald's ice cream machines are always broken, or so it seems. What is up with this? McDonald's has supposedly been serving up ice cream in some form or other since 1940, so that's 80 years of disappointment! Why is this?

Supposedly, while the machines themselves may occasionally malfunction, in most cases "the machine is down" means that the extremely lengthy and labor-intensive cleaning process that each machine needs is either underway or the McDonald's crew members don't have time to go through the whole four-hour ordeal or even, at times, that the crew has just finished cleaning the machine and they don't want to dirty it up again quite so soon. Basically, the more downtime the soft-serve machine has, the less of a pain in the rear it is for employees tasked with keeping it clean.

Well, all that is maybe — finally! — about to change. While McDonald's has not invested in replacing all of its ice cream machines with newer, easier-to-clean versions as they once promised to do, they have made available to franchisees a certain piece of equipment that will supposedly make it simpler to keep the old machines clean and functioning as they should.

McDonald's employees reveal the truth about 'broken' machines

Last summer a Mickey D's ex-employee shared with Twitter the real reason why nobody could ever get a cone or a shake, saying: "Btw, I used to work in McDonalds. The ice cream machine was never broke, it just takes 3 hours to clean so we used to say it was broke so we didn't have to serve you lot. Cheers x" 

This was soon retweeted 10,000+ times and garnered more than 71,000 likes. Another former worker agreed: "As an ex McDonald's employee, the ice cream machine was always working it just took too long to clean it so we used to tell everyone it was broken hahaha."

When a disappointed customer asked why they couldn't just use their words and TELL people the machine was being cleaned or worked on, yet another McDonald's worker replied: "because people don't understand that you can't use it at all when its on a cleaning cycle ... they just think you're wiping it down or something, its easier to say its broken."

Finally, even McDonald's corporate spokesperson got involved, saying "Our shake and soft-serve ice cream machines undergo heat treatment cycles every 24 hours — they're disassembled, sanitized and cleaned every 14 days. We're sorry for any inconvenience." Wendy's, however, was uncharacteristically silent... But according to a Wendy's manager on Quora, Wendy's employees do tend to be pretty good about keeping the Frosty machines clean, and those seldom seem to be "broken."

How a new device can help old McDonald's ice cream machines

This new piece of equipment was developed by a software company called Kytch, and is being referred to by People simply as "the Kytch device." According to its developer, this device will be able to ensure that the cleaning cycle takes place when it's scheduled to happen. 

It can also correct human errors such as under- or over-filling the machine, and can even collect data that will allow it to anticipate if part of the machine is about to break. In such a case, it can warn the employees and even — this should be fun — narc on them and tattletale about any issues that may have been caused by one of the crew members.

What will this mean for McDonald's customers?

As far as McDonad's customers go, though, it may mean that nothing is changing. While McDonald's has made the Kytch device available to its franchisees since May 2019, the company isn't pushing any locations to adopt them. Nor does the device actually reduce the amount of time needed to clean the machines, and — most importantly — it is certainly not going to ensure that employees are actually telling the truth about whether the machine is up and running.

Still, should your local McDonald's have implemented the Kytch device, this indicates that management is at least going to expect a certain level of ice cream availability. In this case, there's less likelihood that the store will be able to get away with claiming that their soft-serve machine is always offline. At any rate, it might mean you might actually have a chance to try the new Oreo Shamrock McFlurrys! If your Mickey D's doesn't have one of these new devices, though, you may have as much chance of scoring a Shamrock Shake as you do of finding leprechaun gold.