It’s a longstanding joke that McDonald’s McFlurry machines are always on the fritz. These machines break down so often that people have often turned to Twitter to share their jokes and responses to McDonald’s faulty machinery. However, the Federal Trade Commission has recently taken notice of McDonald’s failing machine and has decided to launch an investigation to get to the bottom of why McFlurry machines break down as frequently as they do.
In a report published in the Wall Street Journal, the FTC contacted several McDonald’s locations to ask the managers for data concerning their McFlurry machines. They were surveying the owners to gather information about why the machines malfunction so frequently because they may be tasked to do so by the president himself.
Back in July, President Joe Biden ordered the Federal Trade Commission to create new rules that would help consumers and businesses to be able to fix and repair devices on their own. Later during the same month, the FTC ruled that it would tackle unlawful repair restrictions – and McDonald’s faulty McFlurry machines could be their first target.
McFlurry machines are created by a company called Taylor and are notoriously difficult to repair. Taylor is currently stuck in a legal battle with restaurants that want to have the power to repair the machines on their own rather than being forced to rely on Taylor-approved technicians to do the job. Right now, only technicians certified by Taylor are permitted to repair broken McFlurry machines, which means that McDonald’s locations have to wait for a certified technician to arrive before they can serve their customers the popular ice cream treat.
“The existence of a preliminary investigation does not indicate the FTC or its staff have found any wrongdoing,” the federal agency wrote in the letter that it posted this summer, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Currently, the Federal Trade Commission is just doing a probe on McFlurry machines. They want to know from McDonald’s restaurants how often the owners are allowed to repair McFlurry machines on their own.
Taylor is fighting as hard as possible to retain their monopoly on McFlurry machine repairs. Because the machines break down so frequently and non-certified technicians are forbidden from working on the machines, Taylor’s monopoly guarantees that they’ll get repeat business from their customers.
However, the tides may be changing, and McDonald’s restaurants may be able to make repairs to their McFlurry machines faster if the government has anything to do about it. One federal judge recently sided with a company that began to produce a device that would make it easier for non-certified technicians to repair McFlurry machines. Taylor is not happy about the innovation, but the judge ruled in favor of breaking up the repair monopoly.
Kytch is the company that created the repair device. They claim that Taylor tried to mine their innovation for “trade secret information.”
Taylor’s COO admits they did seek out the Kytch device “to evaluate and assess its potential technology-related impacts upon our Soft Serve Machine—such as whether the radio frequency of the Kytch device would interfere with our software signal, or whether the Kytch device would drain the power source of our software and/or cause it malfunction.” However, the Taylor executive claimed they were not looking for trade secrets because they do not “need such information.”
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