For years, fans of the McFlurry frozen dessert at McDonald’s have been aggrieved by the extreme unreliability of the McFlurry machine. It’s notorious for being out of order, which is strange in light of the fact that ice cream parlors seem to be able to make soft-serve treats without much issue. Anyone coveting an Oreo or Chips Ahoy! McFlurry and the accompanying free spoon are sometimes left disappointed.
Now, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is looking to dispense more than just a creamy confection—they want to dispense some sweet justice.
The consumer advocacy agency has reached out to McDonald’s franchisees to inquire about the circumstances surrounding the machine and its sullied reputation. The objective is to gather information about why the units tend to break down and who makes repairs when they do.
Why does the FTC care? Their purview involves oversight on right-to-repair laws, which look to break up companies that insist on monopolizing the repair of commercial equipment. Taylor, the company that manufactures the McFlurry machines, mandates that only Taylor representatives are permitted to fix it.
Taylor recently became embroiled in a legal tussle with Kytch, a company that offers a diagnostic device that assists franchisees in identifying problems with McFlurry machines and suggesting fixes. Kytch recently obtained a restraining order prohibiting Taylor from possessing Kytch units and taking them apart to see how they worked.
It’s generally believed that the McFlurry machines suffer from repeated outages owing to a complicated cleaning procedure that forces employees to take it apart and put it through a lengthy four-hour-long sanitizing process. Coupled with malfunctions, the odds of actually placing a successful order for a McFlurry can vary.
The FTC’s investigation is being labeled preliminary for now, but depending on what they find, it’s possible the agency may one day get to the bottom of this fast food crisis.