'McBroken' Web Site Identifies Broken McDonald's Ice Cream Machines So You Can Avoid Heartache
Whether you've experienced it firsthand or just heard of it as a sort of recurring joke (albeit one grounded in a certain truth), you may know that the ice cream machines at McDonald's restaurants don't enjoy the best reputation for consistent operation. It's become such a well-known problem that a large group of the fast food chain's independent franchisees appointed a task force to do something about it.
We may not know when their hard work to improve the soft serve will pay off, but the good news is that an enterprising coder has come up with a way to save McFlurry fans the agony of finding out a McDonald's ice cream machine is broken. The brainchild of a genius Rashiq Zahid, McBroken is a useful site that provides up-to-the-minute data about the status of the ice cream machine at every single McDonald's across the country.
According to an interview with The Verge, Rashiq was trying to order a McSundae over the summer, only to find out the hard way that he couldn't add one to his cart either through the mobile app or at a touchscreen kiosk. That inspired him to reverse-engineer McDonald's internal API, which he said allows him to get the necessary data for McBroken by "placing an order worth $18,752 every minute at every Mcdonald's in the US”.
In turn, that data gives Zahid accurate information about the status of ice cream machines. On the site's interactive map, any McDonald's location where you can add a McSundae to your cart gets a green dot, while a broken ice cream machine gets a red dot. You can even see city-level data to understand what percentage of an area's ice cream machines are broken at any given time. While it's an exaggeration to say that McDonalds' ice cream machines never work, McBroken's data currently shows that roughly one out of every ten machines across the country isn't working.
McDonald's hasn't officially verified the data on the site, which received more than 10,000 visitors in the half hour after it launched last week, but the international burger chain is aware of McBroken's sudden popularity — and what it says about the state of their ice cream operation. As McDonald's VP of U.S. communications David Tovar tweeted, "We know that we have some opportunities to consistently satisfy even more customers with sweet treats and we will.”
We'd all love to live in a world where a site/project like McBroken isn't necessary. But for now, it's providing a vital service that could potentially make McDonald's more accountable to its ice-cream loving fans in the future. Now that would be sweet.