Why Is it So Hard to Find a Working McDonald’s Ice Cream Machine? The Feds Are Investigating

Girl eating an ice-cream outside the McDonalds McDrive restaurant
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The  Federal Trade Commission has begun a preliminary investigation to see why those darn machines are so complicated.

It’s rare to see or hear a joke about McDonald’s that doesn’t involve a punch line about their often-inconsistent ice cream machines.

And now the feds are getting down to the bottom of the problem.

The Federal Trade Commission has begun a preliminary investigation. They’ve reached out to franchise owners and will inquire about franchisees' use of equipment, including the ice cream machines, as well as how often owners are allowed to repair their own equipment, according to CBS News.

“The existence of a preliminary investigation does not indicate the FTC or its staff have found any wrongdoing,” the FTC’s letter said.

McDonald's has also released a statement. They say it “has no reason to believe we are the focus of an FTC investigation. We work with fully vetted partners that can reliably provide safe solutions at scale."

Nathan Proctor, senior director of the Right to Repair campaign for the U.S. Public Interest Group, told CBS News that McDonald’s machines break because the machines manufactured by Taylor Commercial Foodservice are complicated.

“Some people describe the Taylor machines as kind of over-engineered and too complicated, and say they break because of that,” they said.

Proctor adds that when restaurant operators deal with broken ice cream machines, they must call Taylor exclusively. If they try to try to fix it on their own, it can affect their warranties.

"The franchisees have to buy these devices," Proctor said. "They call Taylor, and there's no incentive to design [the machines] to avoid service calls.”

Inside Edition Digital has reached out to Taylor Commercial Foodservice for comment but has not heard back. 

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